Paul Smith’s book, “New Evangelicalism,” records the history of the rise and fall of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. This is the arena where the battle for the Bible was fought and lost to liberal theologians. Fuller’s fall is a fall from grace, not a fall from success in the world’s eyes, but certainly in the realm of Truth.
Fuller paved the way in the 1960-70s for the now popular Emergent Church’s philosophy that culture dictates biblical interpretation. The Bible had to be denigrated to a book that is not God-breathed and inerrant, merely a book that contains the word of God, (which is up to the reader to decipher between God’s words and man’s), in order for the devil to discredit it.
The same losing battle is being fought on the political front between liberals who want the Constitution to change with the times and not be interpreted by the intent of its authors, and the conservatives who are fighting for upholding the Constitution and our form of government.
Certainly, the very same spirit of antichrist is behind both efforts in order to create the political/religious New World Order in preparation for the seven-year rule of the man of sin. What began at Fuller spread like leaven to other seminaries and Bible colleges in America and around the world. Smith documents the fact that Fuller was ground zero in the Great Apostasy of Christendom.
“When Fuller Seminary changed its Statement of Faith,” writes Smith on page 73, “it headed down the slippery slope that spawned new evangelicalism, humanistic church growth programs, and practices that have caused churches to neglect the work of the Holy Spirit as revealer of God’s truth.”
The two changes to the Statement of Faith were the inerrancy of the Bible and the doctrine of the premillennial return of Christ. Both were eliminated in order to attract a wider assortment of faculty and students to the school. Smith shows that that a paradigm shift occurred from the Great Commission’s focus on evangelism of individuals, to the concern of social justice for communities and nations. Not much of a difference between that and the political arena where socialism is gaining momentum.
Battle in Calvary Chapel
Smith’s vantage point of these historical events is via his own involvement in the Calvary Chapel movement, a true outpouring of God’s Spirit during the hippie era in Southern California. As brother to the movement’s founder, Chuck Smith, Paul Smith was also in the leadership at Calvary Chapel. He watched in frustration as the movers and shakers of the Apostasy honed in on Calvary Chapel to try and get a piece of the action. It is reminiscent of Simon the Magician in the book of Acts who wanted to pay for the power of the Holy Spirit.
When the church growth practitioners failed in winning over Calvary Chapel to their camp, they honed in on the author’s nephews, Chuck Smith Jr. and Chuck Fromm. Smith is candid in his book in showing how the two of them became “change agents” within Calvary Chapel to influence various CC pastors to the emergent way of thinking.
Another attempt to infiltrate Calvary Chapel was made by the late John Wimber, who taught a Signs and Wonders course (as if one could learn to do signs and wonders) under the covering of Fuller professor C. Peter Wagner. Chuck Smith disfellowshiped Wimber who managed to take around forty CC pastors with him into the Vineyard group of churches.
“New Evangelicalism” is such an important book for Bible-believing Christians to read in order to get an understanding of the big picture of how the great falling away we’re witnessing today began. The readers will be introduced to the who’s who of the battle over “evangelicalism.”
And the majority of compromisers of truth who laid the groundwork for the Great Apostasy include:
· Karl Barth
· Daniel Fuller
· C. Peter Wagner
· John Wimber
· Bob Buford
· Peter Drucker
· Rick Warren
· Bill Hybels
Sadly the defenders of the true faith today are a greater minority still. This book is a much needed overview of the so-called Evangelical Church that will assist Christians today in understanding who is with us and who is against us. Read the book, with a Foreword by Chuck Smith, as a starting point in studying modern church history.