The Analytical Student

A Student's Analysis Of Rochester College

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pervasive Theology Taught in Rochester College


To Rochester College in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
Blessings, peace, and grace to you from your fellow bond servant in Christ Jesus our Lord. I write to you because of the concern that has grown in my heart for you since I have begun to attend my schooling here. This is my first year attending and it will not be my last. I know that God has sent me here for a reason; it is not only to learn but to teach a bit myself to the false teachers who run rampant in this school’s faculty. Last semester there was a series taught on the Emergent Church movement. A movement within the church that is trying to “contextualize” the Christian faith to a post-modern world view in hopes of bringing more people to Christ. Although I do share these people’s hearts and intents in the fact that I would like to see as many people come to Christ as humanely possible, I do not agree with their methodology. The Emergent Church believes it necessary to do away with all forms of authority and doctrine in the church. To “open” the lines of communication and allow for debate of classical theological standings so people can find their own truth. These practices are not only divisive, but they are lies directly from the pit of Hell itself. It is a Satanic ideology that must be obliterated before it leads anyone else down the “broad road” to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). This abhorrent treatment of truth has been infecting the church ever since the beginning of the liberal movement in America. This country in and of itself has been abandoned by God for it’s idolatry of the human mind, and human freedoms (Romans 1:18-32). But now the “church” begins to follow in suit with the world. First of all it is very clear in scripture that the gospel message is not up for debate.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)
We have no right to debate gospel or biblical truth.
“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of this book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in the book.” (Revelations 22:18-19). Wow how scary is that. And yet on a continual bases we feel the necessity to “tamper” with God’s word so it seems more “loving.” Paul actually tells us to discern is to love. In Philippians Paul says
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
Part of Christian life is to discern truth from error, to correct and rebuke (2 Timothy 4:1-5). The problem with this college is the lack of discernment. The college is not Word focused enough. Many people may read this and think “well you’re being so unloving and judgmental!” Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 to test all things; holding fast to all that is good, and abstaining from every evil. I am calling for discernment in Rochester College to be able to discern truth from error and to distinguish those falsehoods. Many people will come back and say that every person in the faculty is a person of great Christian character. While that might be (although I highly doubt they are that good considering we are all humans) the Bible warns against such things. In 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 Paul talks about how false teachers will be as ministers of righteousness. It is hard to recognize God’s servants from the enemies because they look so similar. There are more people selling the wrong way than the true way in the church (Matthew 7:13-14). Paul also tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 to bring down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are called to the destruction of human philosophies like post-modernism, relativism, and pluralism not embrace them as our own. We are to be champions in Christ “rightly diving the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) for the furtherance of the Kingdom. Instead we want to follow and adapt an ideology that causes people to be “filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiter, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventor of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:29-32). Is that how Rochester College wants to be? I hope not or God has given me more then one person can correct on his own. I however am not the only person with these concerns and convictions. There are many other students who feel the same but are too afraid to step forward, fearful of the backlash that the college would ensue. So I write this in hopes of it lifting the darkness of Satan and revealing the light of Christ. Many will state that this is but one person’s interpretation, and that this is a wrong interpretation. I have been studying for something such as this for more than 3 years. God has been raising me up to deal with a situation such as this for a while, and I am finally ready to write about them and deal with these problems head on. We are in desperate need of discernment, and going back to the scriptures. I write this to correct those who are in falsehood, but I also write this to encourage the body of Christ, that their discernment and love for God and his word may abound more and more. I have been charged by God to preach his word, and so I do so (2 Timothy 4:1-5). I pray that whoever has read this will grow in Christ in both understanding, and spiritual blessing. Peace to you from your servant in Christ.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Perspective of an Outsider

In a discussion with a non-Christian who has been at this college a while, I was struck when he said that Rochester was not Christian anymore. Somewhat surprised by the statement, I followed it up. "It's just not the same," he said. "the atmosphere, the environment... people's attitudes... I don't know,". While I would not go so far myself, I have to note that irony, as how many times it is the non-Christians who see through the pseudo-spiritual and pseudo-Christian fronts, and challenge us to be consistent to the message of the Cross and of Christ, and how perceptive they seem, especially when things are off course.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Part II: Criticisms of the Emerging Church

Whether it is in its attempt to become "relevant to the culture" or if it is solely done in the name of tolerance and unity, the Emerging Church makes many 'concessions' in its regards to Christianity. Many of these 'concessions' tear at the very heart of the Gospel itself and the implications of which, despite their importance, are rarely discussed. It is thus our duty to expose these implications.

The Emerging Church and Propositional Truth

Although Emerging speakers often hint at the Emerging Church's stance on "propositional truths," they rarely explain the full implications of Emergent thought regarding these truths. One recurring problem with audiences who are not familiar with Emerging jargon is that they often do not understand what "propostional truths" are. So, what exactly are "propositional truths"? In the context of Christianity, propositional truths make claims dealing with Biblical issues that are objectively agreed upon. In other words, propositional truth for Christians is not merely a matter of opinion or "feeling," it is foundational. For example, the deity of Christ is a biblically-based propositional truth, yet the Emerging Church discounts the necessity of propositional truth to Christianity. An individual cannot simply discard the deity of Christ and still claim to genuinely follow Him. To do so would be like chasing a phantom or grasping at shadows. Truths like the deity of Christ or the Resurrection, being central to the gospel itself, are among the first casualties of this movement's ambiguous and "inclusive" contentions. The Emergent movement claims to be missions-oriented, but what is the point of missions with a dead or false Christ? Is the Gospel truly only a humanistic, deeds-based enterprise?

The Apostle Paul says, "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Paul continues, "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:13-14). Therefore the Gospel Paul lays out is founded upon propositional truths - the Resurrection of Jesus is undeniably a foundational propositional truth. Without it, there is no "gospel" at all. Faith without propositional truth is "useless," as Paul says.
What hope do we have to offer a lost and dying world if not the Gospel? A materialistic hope of earthly fulfillment? A consumerist utopia? motional satisfaction? Intellectual enlightenment? None of these offer true and lasting hope. If Christ's claims are not true, there is no hope for any of us. Christianity, once holding the power of the Gospel, becomes only a hollow shell and its life-changing Word is replaced with a "life-changing discussion." Unity is fabricated because the Cross, the great equalizer, becomes just another story in an ancient book that can be taken and distorted to fit any reader's opinion of what it should say.

Emerging Church: Unity or Tolerance?

One of the major themes of the Emerging Church is an emphasis on "unity." The call is for all denominations and sects to put aside their differences and come together in "unity." Too often, however, their idea of unity is intercepted by another gospel - the gospel of tolerance. The foundation of Christian unity is based upon the Gospel, not tolerance. Denying propositional truth in the name of tolerance essentially creates a pick-and-choose Christianity, a "theological buffet." Whatever strikes one's fancy - even evil itself - becomes merely a unique perspective on the truth. Consequently, accountability cannot exist; there is no basis on which to hold another Christian accountable. What's right becomes "what's right for you" and moral relativism erodes away at biblical principles. The concept of unity becomes a mask concealing the tensions that really exist underneath.

If we offer up the heart of Christianity on the altar of tolerance, then the hope we once had is lost for the sake of "cultural relevance." Not even the bones of the Gospel remain. Embracing tolerance while forsaking accountability creates a superficial unity where people greet each other with plastic smiles and one arm behind their backs grasping the dagger of deception - wounds fester and serious issues are not resolved for fear of offending one another. Christians who make any attempt at holding one another accountable are labeled "divisive" and destructive of this superficial unity.

Although this allegiance to tolerance has created problems when discussing different denominations and sects that claim to be part of Christianity, some Emergent thinkers and sympathetic theologians have taken religious "tolerance" to a greater extreme. Lee Camp, a theologian at Libscomb University, recently commented about tolerance during an interfaith gathering at the university:

"The most basic Christian commitment … is that we say we believe in the Lordship of Jesus. But, if we claim that, how can a Muslim or Jew trust us, if we say Jesus is the Lord of all Lords?"

If we compromise on our most basic Christian commitments to earn the trust of other religions, we have made our own meaningless and futile. Why are the tenets of Christianity to be sacrificed and those of Judaism and Islam preserved? Do they not contain statements of exclusivity as well? Didn't Jesus say "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"? If we sacrifice the Gospel to gain a platform to speak out to other religions, we will have nothing of value to say once we gain it!

Christianity and Cultural Relevance

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." Colossians 2:8

The Emerging Church claims it seeks to be "relevant" to a culture they see as postmodern. The question we must ask as Christians, though, is this: "Is the Gospel itself not relevant to all cultural settings?" We should note that there is a difference between using contemporary knowledge to communicate the Gospel rather than actually changing what scripture says. Jesus used parables with contemporary language in His time, and there is nothing wrong with us doing the same. Distorting principles and propositional truths, however, goes far beyond just being "relelvant." Scripture itself cannot be changed; the Gospel is relevant for all times, it cannot be obsolete.

To Be Continued: Part III - Criticisms of the Emerging Church by Tacitus and Aquinas

Part I: Contributions of the Emerging Church

After presenting our introduction to the Emerging Church, we'd like to examine the positive contributions that the Emerging Church offers to Christianity. Admittedly, it should be noted that not all of these contributions are unique to the Emerging Church, but it does put special emphasis on these issues and ideas.

The Emerging Church and Social Justice

The Emerging Church's focus on social justice has alot to offer some traditional Christian churches. The Emerging Church places great importance on helping the poor in their current situations and showing them love. Followers of the Emerging Church warn Christians against alienating themselves from the poor, encouraging Christians to step out of their comfort zones. "Solidarity with the poor" is a recurring theme among Emergent thinkers. Like Jesus, we have a responsibility to minister to the poor in words and in deeds. Jesus said in Luke 4:18-19: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." And, in Luke 14:13-14, Jeus implores his audience: "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." Obviously, Jesus also held social justice as a vital ministry as well.

The Emerging Church and Action-Oriented Ministry

Another popular focus of the Emerging Church is the call for active participation in Christianity instead of simply passively observing religious rites. Emergent groups often attempt to draw people into active communities where spiritual issues are discussed regularly. If we remember the Parable of the Talents, Jesus admonishes us to use our abilities to further the cause of Christ. In general, the Emerging Church attempts to get Christians involved in ministry and worship more actively.

Many Christians today are focused solely on their small social circles and are apathetic about issues in the world at large. As Christians, Christ calls us to be concerned about more than merely our immediate friends and family. He calls us to more than a worldly pursuit of material goods and comfortable living; our lives should be characterized by service, not selfishness. This emphasis on action and changing the world is refreshing as complacency seems to be the norm in our society. Truly practicing Christ's teaching demands we rise above this mediocrity and reach a lost world.

The Emerging Church and Legalism

The Emerging Church is particularly cautious of legalistic practices within Christian churches. One distinguishing characteristic of most Emergent thinkers is that they guard themselves against caving into irrelevant or less important congregational differences. For example, an Emergent group would be unlikely to have a fierce schism over the order of worship services or the design of the church building.

To Be Continued: Part II - Criticisms of The Emerging Church by Tacitus and Aquinas

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Introduction: The Emerging Church

What is the Emerging Church?

Wikipedia gives a fairly comprehensive, yet concise definition:

The emerging church or emergent church is a diverse movement within Christianity that arose in the late 20th century as a reaction to the influence of modernism in Western Christianity. The movement is usually called a "conversation" by its proponents to emphasize its diffuse nature with contributions from many people and no explicitly defined leadership or direction. The emerging church seeks to deconstruct and reconstruct Christianity as its mainly Western members live in a postmodern culture.


Rochester College's Assembly Presentations on the Emerging Church

From October 17th to November 28th, faculty members of Rochester College and other guest speakers gave a series of assembly presentations on the "Emerging Church." Here is the basic outline of the assemblies:

October 17th - Dr. Keith Huey: History of the Emerging Church

October 24th - Dr. Rubel Shelly: The Emerging Church as a Holistic Movement

October 31st - Chris Lindsey: The Emerging Church and Worship as a Lifestyle

November 7th - Josh Graves: Authentic Discipleship and the Emerging Church

November 14th - Klint Pleasant: Mission and Hospitality with the Emerging Church

November 21st - Todd and Kara Tipton: Missionizing and the Emerging Church Globally

November 28th - Eric Magnusson: Scripture as Story and Conclusion


Quick Summaries

Dr. Keith Huey's presentation sought to give a balanced view of the Emerging Church from a historical perspective. He noted the movement's stance against focusing on propositional truths and doctrines traditionally studied by Christian churches. He also gave importance to the idea of the Emerging Church as a "conversation" and mentioned the movement's connection to Post-Modernism and Post-Modernist culture. On other beliefs of the Emerging Church, Dr. Huey presented the popular Emergent idea that Christians and the Bible "do(es) not have a monopoly on truth."

Dr. Rubel Shelly's presentation discussed the Emerging Church as a holistic movement. "Christian Holism" can often be described as the opposite of Reductionism. In other words, as it relates to Christianity and the Emerging Church, "holism" is the rejection of the view that there are two separate worlds - the "Spiritual World" and the "Secular World." The Emerging Church, as Shelly explains it, stresses experience over theological doctrines and objects to the idea of propositional truths and creeds being deduced from scripture.

Chris Lindsey's presentation discussed the idea of worship in the Emerging Church. Lindsey practiced several ancient Catholic worship activities during the assembly, including the Lectio Divina. In addition to the Lectio Divina, he commented favorably on the practice of Taize. Lindsey supported the idea of "worship as lifestyle" and describing worship as an experience. Explaining a criticism of the traditional view of Bible study (I.E. a Christian reading and meditating on scriptures), Lindsey offered the analogy of a Baseball card and a Professional Baseball player; one can collect the player's sports cards and memorize his statistics, but that does not mean the person actually knows the player.

Josh Graves's presentation featured his take on the Emerging Church, including criticisms. The assembly also presented an "Emerging" group that showcased their unconventional style of Emergent ministry, including a Christian coffee shop and tattoo parlor. "Bar Twelve," a musical band, performed for the student audience.

Klint Pleasant's presentation discussed the need for churches and Christians to be accepting of all people, regardless of their current situation or issues. He recalled the story of a young student that had problems with drugs, looked rough, and behaved strangely. Pleasant admitted that he was wary about the course of action he would take with the student, but Pleasant eventually decided that accepting the young man and helping him get involved in the school's basketball program was the right thing to do.

Todd and Kara Tipton's presentation displayed the missional side of the Emerging Church. Kara Tipton talked about some of her experiences on the mission field. Above all, she urged Christians to be united.

Eric Magnusson's presentation highlighted his call for students to read the Bible as "story" instead of studying it and finding doctrines and propositional truths. Echoing the sentiments of Dr. Rubel Shelly, Magnusson argued for a more holistic interpretation of the Bible. Magnusson expressed a desire for Christians to read the Bible similar to how they did when they were children.


We hope this introductory article has made it easier for interested students to find convienent information about the Emerging Church and Rochester College's presentations on it. Here are some more helpful and relevant links on the Emerging Church:

The Emerging Village:

More Information on the Emerging Church:

An Emerging Site With Focus on Progressive Culture:

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mark Paul Responds to Grave Misrepresentation

The Article written by Mark Paul in response to Josh Grave's assembly speech:

Since there is no need to hide my annonimity because well frankly, everyone knows that I, Mark Paul, created the Caucasian Support Group.

Lets start off in the beginning. Back in assembly on October 20, J.C. Thomas told the student body that they had created an African-American Support Group on campus. He stated that the group was not racist, rather was like any other support group that could exist whether it be a male or female support group, alcohol, drugs, etc.

A group that outwardly distinguishes race as its main component is simply promoting racism, whether that's the groups intention ornot. So I knew I had to do something to make my voice heard. I thought at first about just going to certain faculty responsible for the group and simply stating my opinion, but let's be honest, I wouldn't have been heard. We all know I would have been blown off as quick as possible. One voice, generally does not make a difference on its own.

Therefore, I decided that I would use what ability I had to make my voice bigger. So I created the facebook group called the Caucasian Support Group. In no way is the group racist and I basically set the mission statement exactly worded as Thomas did in assembly. Before long there was over 100 people in the group.Obviously some people had a problem with the African-American Support Group as well. I knew that it would not be long after that I would face a group of pissed off people telling me that I'm racist.

First, I was talked to by the President of the Student Action Diversity Council. We talked for about half an hour and ultimately in a nutshell what I was told was that what I did was subversively racist and that if the group was not removed then Claude Huddleston and J.C. Thomas would be contacting me. I was told,"You don't want to have to sit through 4 hours of sensitivity training." said the President of SADC. Ultimately, I was threatened saying to take my group down or sit through hours of meetings where I'd be trained to no longer be a racist.

Now lets get one thing straight, I am no racist. I say neither support groups are positive, however, if one can exist, certainly the other can as well. My reason for creating the group was simply to draw awareness to how wrong the African-American group is. I then decided to call their bluff. I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong, and that I was just exercising my rights of free speech.

A few weeks later I was approached by Josh Graves to set up a meeting. We met Thursday before Friday's assembly and had a great chat. He basically said he wanted my side of the story and I gave it to him. In return he said that his talk would be very objective, approaching the issue from both sides. Does anyone else find it ironic that the word "objective" has turned into such a subjective word?

In the assembly Josh Graves quoted me as saying that I knew my group was wrong, it wasn't positive, and I was just doing it as a knee jerk reaction to the Black Support Group. Total misquote!

What I said was "I don't think either of the support groups are right. I didn't think what I did was positive but it was the only way I knew that I could draw attention to how ridiculous their group was."

Took a lot out of context didn't he! Shortly after he decided that it would be the "objective" thing to do in publicly saying that I was immature for making such a group. Wow, thank you objectivity! I think someone is confusing objectivity with the word,

A lot of the talk had an underlying tone that, "Well they (refering to other members in the group and myself) were wrong for what they did and there was no point to this disgraceful act so if you're a good Christian then you'll get out."

Basically, the school did nothing to address this issue. The only thing that happened was people were verbally flogged for being in this group.



Sunday, November 05, 2006

This Blog is an Open Forum

...for anyone and everyone who wants to post a topic or comment on a current topic.

Students and employees of Rochester College from all perspectives are welcome to comment, and anyone can make a new topic. This blog endeavors to give students the opportunity to voice their opinions (even if they are unpopular on the RC campus), so feel free to post anonymously if you wish. To have your topic posted here, send it to to be reviewed and then published. If accepted, a poster's work will NOT be edited.

Posts need not be pages and pages in length; content will be the criteria.
For more on this blog's purpose see the first post here.

~ Your Friendly Neighborhood Administrator

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What was Swept Under the Rug Months ago

Back in February, during Black History Month, a speaker was allowed to speak in assembly as a special guest of J.C. Thomas. The guest, Mr. McClain, gave a speech that even a number of non-Caucasian students experienced as an "angry attack on white people."

The real problem with the speech however, is when the "facts" in McClain's "inventor's section" was backtracked, it was found to be not only full of innaccuracies and even blatant lies, but the entire "A World Without Black People" section was plagiarized word for word from an anonymous internet email chain letter!

"Dean Cain,

On February 15, in Assembly, the speaker introduced by J.C. Thomas gave a speech in honor of Black History month. Normally assemblies have a spiritual message relevant to all who attend, but in this case it was exactly the opposite. The message had nothing spiritually relevant about it. The section of the speech that is particularly in question is the speaker’s summary of African-American inventions in his “A World without Black People” mini-speech. To be sure, we admire his basic argument: African-Americans have made America a better place to live in for all. However, the “A World without Black People” section of his speech betrays his motives in the most critical way. The original source of this fellow’s information was not his own work, but in fact an anonymous internet e-mail chain letter that has been circulating around the net for years. This letter is riddled with half truths and blatant lies, and much of what our assembly’s speaker said for that section was plagiarized word for word from the letter! Please see here for a critical analysis of his letter, as well as a later variant that has also been floating around the
internet you can find at this address:

The speaker in assembly, rather than seeking to create unity, apparently focused his attention only on what divided us as a people, instead of the Gospel that unites us. It seemed almost as if there were some political agenda behind his words. While this aspect of the speech is certainly troubling to us, the fact that a speaker and speech of such low credibility and intellectual honesty was allowed to be presented to us in an academic institution is even more distressing. As students of Rochester College, we are taught to question what we are told and critically analyze messages that are presented to us. Unfortunately, the speaker’s message wholly failed to pass this test. Imagine if we presented an anonymous internet e-mail chain letter as an academic source to our professors! Why then should an assembly speaker, speaking in front of the entire student body, be held to a lesser standard? While the contents of this letter are of grave importance to us, we hope it is understood that this letter has been written not because of hatred or antagonism towards the college, but rather that we are concerned for the direction in which this college is headed. We strongly believe that Rochester College should put academic integrity and intellectual honesty among its highest priorities. With that said, due to the respect we have for this college, we feel that it is only right for the college to apologize to its student body and seek some redressing of these concerns.


Concerned Students of Rochester College"

This letter was sent to Dean Cain pointing out these difficulties, asking for the student body to be informed and apologized to. Dean Cain, however, responded by saying it was a policy "not to respond to anonymous communication" and any percieved reasons for anonymity were based upon faulty reasoning. That response has been discussed in detail here, and here.

Meanwhile, Calvin Moore had been discussing this situation (to a degree) with Tacitus and I, and gave us his assurance that the issues raised on this blog would not be as he said let off the hook.

Needless to say, it was let off the hook. There was, however an article written in the Shield about the issue, but this article profoundly misrepresented the situation, made blatant evasions, and glossed over the truth. It essentially praised McClain, ignoring the fact that McClain plagiarized the piece without giving any credit at all.


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