Ever Heard of Ellerslie?

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Susan R's picture
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I saw a link to this website- http://www.ellerslie.com/ and wondered if anyone here ever heard of it, had experience with it…? Is it a program you would recommend?

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Never heard of it, but I have

Never heard of it, but I have heard of Eric and Leslie Ludy. I have one of their CDs around my place somewhere.

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Looks Scary

I had never heard of it until I looked at the website. It scares me. It reminds me of what I went through training for Neighborhood Bible Time. A season of highly intense focus does not a disciple make, much less a hero. This organization seems to be playing to people's desire for holiness in order to ensconce them in self-righteousness. "A School of Honor?" "Hero-training facility?" Do A, B, and C in our special environment with our special program and you will emerge a great Christian!

The Bible is clear that discipleship is not an intensive seminar; it is a lifelong process. It does not proceed primarily through manufactured crises, but through God's Spirit teaching through the Church, the sacraments, and the Scripture, all in the process of everyday life. The roots of this sort of thing - whether camps, NBT, or Ellerslie - is the Finneyan notion that sin is just an obstacle, and if we could just get our legs toned enough, and get a running start with the right amount of determination, we could leap over it or knock it over. Then we'd be "victorious Christians" who don't struggle with that sin anymore. The expectations are inspiring, but the disappointment afterward is crushing.

My Blog: www.sacredpage.wordpress.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Alex Guggenheim's picture
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From the website: Quote: #1

From the website:

Quote:
#1 Ellerslie Summer Training - Ellerslie Campus - Windsor, Colorado - June 2nd, 2010 - August 15th, 2010

The first schooling phase (just mentioned) is the stateside classroom program lasting ten weeks. This is the mandatory starting point for all students interested in moving forward with an education at Ellerslie, and thusly a prerequisite to both the Ellerslie Haiti School and the Ellerslie Bible School. The tuition cost for this phase is $4,950, which will cover all schooling, food, and lodging costs (books and materials will be an additional cost).

#2 Ellerslie Haiti School - (optional) Ouanaminthe, Haiti - August 20th, 2010 - September 20th, 2010

The second phase is optional, but by no means lesser - it includes a trip to Ouanaminthe, Haiti to live, study, and demonstrate Christ amongst the destitute, the poor, and the orphaned. The cost for this portion of the program is heavily based on plane ticket expense. Based on current airline prices, this portion of the program will run between $1,200 and $1,500 (and will include all travel, schooling, food, and lodging expenses).

I couldn't stop laughing...in fact I am still laughing, this would bring sad tears to my eyes were I not crying with laughter at the absurdity of this. Maybe the tears of sadness will set in shortly.

Ah yes, spiritual advancement for THOSE who can afford it. Old gimmick, new wrapping paper.

God's design is superior in every way. He has given the gift of the office of Pastor-teacher for the church today. He then gives the appropriate gifting to certain men to fulfill this office. Such men, of true faith, are equipped by God himself to study and teach local congregations and at times those in distant places through varying means of communication.

And in God's design, all those positive to the Word of God have equal access.

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From their application form

From their application form here is their code of honor, or behavioral requirements for attendees. Tell me what you see...I'll tell you what I see, CULT principles scattered throughout (bold and italics mine):

Quote:
1)
ENGAGING WITH ENTHUSIASM IN THE DAILY ACTIVITIES AND LABORS OF THE SCHOOL, DELIBERATELY SEEKING TO HONOR GOD WITH AN ATTITUDE OF EXPECTANCY AND APPRECIATION
2)
PURSUING CHRIST ABOVE ALL THINGS, SEEKING TO FIND THE FULLNESS OF BOTH HIS PRESENCE AND HIS ENABLING POWER TO LIVE OUT THE HIGH CALLING MANDATED IN THE GOSPEL
3)
DELIBERATELY CHOOSING TO FORGO THE NORMAL COMFORTS AND WORDLY ACCOUTERMENTS OF LIFE FOR A SEASON IN ORDER TO FOCUS ON THE FORMATION OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER.
4)
CONSCIENTIOUSLY UPHOLDING THE VALUE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX, SEEKING WAYS IN WHICH TO PROTECT IT IN PURITY, ENCOURAGE IT IN NOBILITY, AND SPONSOR THE FORMATION OF TRUE CHRIST-CENTEREDNESS IN ITS BEARING.
5)
DILIGENTLY LABORING TO BE TIMELY IN ARRIVAL AT SCHOOL EVENTS, CONSISTENT IN ATTENDENCE, AND DUTIFUL IN PERFORMING ALL REQUIRED ASSIGNMENTS AND JOBS.
6)
RESPECTFULLY TREATING THE ELLERSLIE STAFF AND STUDENT POPULATION WITH DEFERENCE, FAVOR, AND HUMBLE SUBMISSION – HONORING EVERYONE PRESENT AS IF THEY WERE IN FACT MORE IMPORTANT AND OF GREATER VALUE THAN ONESELF. CHOOSING TO BE SMALL, OVERLOOKED, EVEN UNAPPRECIATED IF NECESSARY IN ORDER THAT GOD MIGHT CONSTRUCT A TRUE SERVANT-LEADER OUT OF SUCH WILLING CLAY.
7)
INTENTIONALLY CHOOSING TO AVOID ANY MANNER OF DISRESPECT TOWARD LEADERSHIP AND PARTICIPATION IN DEVISIVE ACTIVITIES THAT WOULD HINDER OTHERS PARTICIPATING IN THE SCHOOL
8)
HAPPILY FORGOING ANY PARTICIPATION IN ANY BEHAVIOR OF MORAL QUESTION, OR A POTENTIALLY COMPROMISING NATURE – SEEKING RATHER TO EXHIBIT THE EXCELLENCE AND VIRTUE OF THE LIFE CHRIST’S CROSS ENABLES ALL TO PURSUE.

Teri Ploski's picture
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Ick

Thanks, but I'll pass.

Alex Guggenheim's picture
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Just to wet your whistle here

Just to wet your whistle here is a response to a FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS inquiry (little doubt these are self-generated questions to provide a platform for explaining certain eccentricities of the "school"):

Quote:
What about the rumor that orphans are going to be a part of the school?

God willing, it will prove true. Accompanying the Phase One Ellerslie students in the upcoming summer 2010 program, it is planned that twenty-one orphans from around the world will be joining the school on campus. These orphans, ages 6 to 11, will be living on campus and training to travel the United States as a world-class international orphan choir.

The students of Ellerslie will get the privilege of building life-long relationships with these children, not only living with them for 2 ½ months, but modeling for them the pattern of Biblical heroic living. It’s possibly the most amazing dimension of the entire training program.

Interesting and truly frightening for the orphan children.

"Hey little ones, I am going to bring you here and guess what? That's right, you're going to be our little "spiritual experiment. We are going to have you singing with smiles that we teach you are necessary and required, we are going to have you reciting long passages from the Bible and giving your testimony of how grateful you are that Ellerslie saved you from your former life which will justify our "spiritual experiment. Not to mention we will give you the gospel so that it will make us untouchable regarding criticism, aren't you little ones excited?"

Hmmmm...where have we seen (Texas) this (rhymes with Hester)...this before? Anyway moving on.

I have been reading more extensively about Eric Ludy, the President of Ellerslie. I encourage those of you interested in learning about the fundamental personality and mechanical elements of a CULT in its infancy, do some online research and reading about Eric Ludy and Steve Gallagher, the Dean of Ellerslie:

Here are some examples of dangerous philosophical precedents that will be carried over into Ellerslie by Ludy and Gallagher:

Gallagher (controlling, manipulative, narcissistic, self-expiatory)

Q. When someone has confessed a sexual sin to their pastor, is this something they should confess to the church or do they need to resolve it on their own?

A. I don’t know what the sexual sin is, so it is difficult to give anything but a general answer. Typically, a man who has fallen into sexual sin should only need to confess his moral lapse to his spiritual leader. If he has repented, there is no reason for anyone else to know about it."Spiritual leader" is code word for some other human having control over a subordinate. There is no such teaching in the Bible that we need to confess our sins to anyone but God. There is no such thing that a person "need to confess his moral lapse to his spiritual leader". "If we confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness".

Some might contend, but doesn't the Bible teach that we are to "confess your sins, one to another". Yes it does but this assumes that means something it does not mean. What it means to "confess your sins, one to another" is to admit to or name the sin to the person against whom it is committed. That means if you have sinned against someone, let's say you have stolen a dollar, you are to return it and confess that you stole it. You admit it to that person and that person only. It refers to direct sins against another person. It does not refer to sins that have no direct person as an object of offense, those are sins against God which generally are most of our sins. Those are to be confessed before God and God alone.

The concept of a "spiritual leader" is a control mechanism and used far beyond Christian cults and religious cults but with cults in general. This spiritual hierarchy is established simply so that there remains a superior spiritual monarchy or oligarchy to control the organism. This is not taught in the Bible anywhere or at any time. Some might attempt to extrapolate certain parts of the Bible, either in the OT or NT and make some analogous or comparative justification, but that is simply a disingenuous and abusive use of God's Word to justify a CULT principle.

Quote:
IF A CHRISTIAN SHOULD AVOID REGULAR TV, IS CHRISTIAN TV OK?
Q. I understand your concerns about Christians watching television. Is Christian TV such as SkyAngel Network and TBN okay to watch?

A. I am concerned about believers immersing themselves in television—very concerned. Christian TV is another matter. I don’t think the medium is the issue, though. In other words, whether a preacher is writing a book, speaking on the radio, preaching in front of a camera, or standing behind a pulpit—the important issue is what he is actually teaching.

A bit diluted but still a rather substantial CULT practice of isolating the disciple from other ideas and exclusively bombarding them with your proprietary doctrine. Notice the slyness of this CULT principle. The best lie is always built upon some truth. Yes, viewing certain forms of entertainment can be sinful for some people at some times but Gallagher takes a sophisticate issue of liberty and morality and obliterates it, reforming it to fit his agenda.

After all, wolves are easy to spot, but a wolf in sheep's clothing...well. And notice the question and response. The question assumed TV is bad already, and without having to justify why TV is verboten he simply states how concerned he is with Christians "immersing" themselves in television. No one asked about immersing themselves in TV but this is his method, to counter with a false portrayal of what watching TV is. To him it is always about being immersed as if self-control or moderation is impossible.

As you read about Gallagher and Ludy you will notice a common theme to which Charlie aptly referred:

Quote:
the Finneyan notion that sin is just an obstacle, and if we could just get our legs toned enough, and get a running start with the right amount of determination, we could leap over it or knock it over. Then we'd be "victorious Christians" who don't struggle with that sin anymore
So one of the two main elements in an infant CULT is "control mechanics". There must be a philosophy of control and that normally entails the principle of either a "spiritual monarchy" or a "spiritual oligarchy" to whom others must answer and subordinate themselves. But the control mechanisms will fail if there is not one or more willing narcissistic/megalomaniac personalities to fuel it. Hence in looking at Ludy, the second of the two necessary elementsfor a CULT's birth and growth can be observed.

Ludy (narcissistic, megalomaniacal, austere, ascetic,)

Ludy can be observed displaying fantastical self-descriptions that are typical of a narcissist/megalomaniac. Ludy will simultaneously declare his simplicity and humility while announcing the possibility of his literary "Luther" like prowess or endeavors. Here is one quote:

I guess I’m a pretty simple guy. And the three pictures above state it all. I know why I’m here on planet Earth and I know precisely what I need to be doing with the short time I’ve got. I wrote The Bravehearted Gospel in 2007. It was my smallish way of pinning 95 theses on the Wittenburg door. Whether or not The Bravehearted Gospel proves to have a Lutherian impact upon the church, it has greatly impacted my life and message.

About his most recent child's birth and name:

At 3:24 this morning, a little girl was born. And out of 365 days in a calendar year, this little Ludy girl happened to choose Father’s Day on which to arrive. She’s obviously going to be a Daddy’s girl.

Well, it’s official. Our little bitty punkin has a name. And, this is no ordinary name, mind you. This name is extra special, selected off of page one in the Official Ludy Dictionary of Baby Names. Avonlea (pronounced av-un-lee) is a long time favorite name in the Eric and Leslie vernacular.While standing alone these comments might seem to be the reasonably benign pronouncements of a proud father but they don't stand alone, rather they punctuate a series of self-aggrandizing reflections. Instead of saying she was born on father's day, it is apparently important that Ludy characterize the birth as one being where the infant makes the choice to be born, not on her birthday, but on Ludy's "father's day". And as if writing some children's novel he casts the name of Avonlea in some fictionalize super superior context all stemming from the ever royal family of Ludy.

In an interview with Harvest House Publishers Ludy responds (bold mine):

Eric:">http://harvesthousepublishers.com/books_nonfictioninterview.cfm?ID=73[qu... When you grow up in a Christian home, sometimes God has to go the extra mile to make it clear that the Gospel isn’t just for this lost world out there, but it’s also for you. There’s my story in a nutshell. I was the above–average kid with decent grades, a lot of friends, good hygiene, and fairly respectable moral character who thought that I was God’s agent of change on planet earth. But God had to introduce me to the fact that I was nothing more than a “self–built man.” I was the product of environment, the product of a middle class American Christian family—not the product of the regeneration of the Spirit of Almighty God. I was a tribute to my own determination and ability and not to the ability of God’s grace to transform the human existence from something mediocre to something marvelous.

It certainly didn’t happen overnight, but my life is all about being captured, overcome, and totally transformed by the Living God. Every one of our books is somehow, someway about this hi–jacking of my soul and body by the Spirit of Christ. I am a man who absolutely loves and adores His King, and I want every single person on planet earth to taste and know what I have discovered in the intimate exchange of my life for the life of God.Even at an early age Ludy, by his own admission, is besought with visions of grandeur as he imagined he might possibly be "God's agent of change on planet earth". It is critical to note that while Ludy pleads with his audience that he had an epiphany and understood he was self-built, it appears quite glaringly that the dismantling of the "old Ludy" and the rebuilding into the "new Ludy" didn't involve a capitulation of his grandiosity.

And so he concludes that as a result of this transformation, one might expect Ludy to speak with words such as "instead of being self-built, it is now not about me but about the Lord". But this is not what Ludy does. Here Ludy once again centers himself with all objects revolving around Eric Ludy. Ludy says, "I want every single person on planet earth to taste and know what I have discovered in the intimate exchange of my life for the life of God". Ludy paints himself as the prototype, the discoverer and the illuminate.

So with Ludy and with Gallagher you have the birth of Ellerslie. Ellerslie is the empire, the body into which they can pour their convoluted philosophy/theology and the maladjusted personalities, fueled individually and corporately by self-loathing, the need to manipulate, asceticism, narcissism and megalomania, thus it will have all the impetus to succeed because there are always empty vessels, suckers on the other end of the phone, lost souls online and vulnerable sheep looking for redemption in all the wrong places who will enlist and ultimately be crushed by such mechanisms.

Someone might wonder why all the fuss. Well first because I see danger here and while there is not a likelihood of readers or members here running to Ellerslie, I guarantee you that you will be hearing much more from Ludy, Gallagher and Ellerslie. They have big plans and it is founded on an age old platform of using God as a tool for self-improvement and turning the Gospel into a call for moral crusading and impressing God with our self-control.

Secondly, it interests me greatly in a personal way. A personal intellectual pursuit of mine, a hobby if you will, is studying rather extensively psychological and sociological dynamics in general and specifically their relationship within the church. I have found in some fundamentalist and evangelical quarters (too often mind you) some CULT principles in operation. So from here one might want to compare just the two main elements of an infant CULT and ask themselves do they see this or anything they might discover undesirable in Ellerslie, arising in the ministries with which they are involved and make pertinent decisions.

Anne Sokol's picture
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well

I'm not sure what's exactly the basis of everyone's reaction here, cynicism, suspicion . . . ? I'm really not too familiar with Ludy's stuff, but i've read one or two of his wife's books so maybe I have more exposure than some here? and they are right on the money about much of life. They are neat people. So I don't know a ton about them, but the fact that they are big proponents of adoption, for example, doesn't freak me out either, most americans have so little contact with orphans as it is.

anyway, i'm not too scared about the school idea yet Smile

fwiw!

Alex Guggenheim's picture
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Well Anne, you probably won't

Well Anne, you probably won't ever attend the CULT setting they call a school so you probably have no reason to be scare of it but those future victims of the master manipulators, Ludy and Gallagher certainly have a reason to be scared. It is sad that they don't even know what they are heading into. But again this is how CULTS are established. Always a slow process with certain elements based in some grain of truth so that the wolves always have their sheep clothing on.

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Alex Guggenheim wrote: From

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
From their application form here is their code of honor, or behavioral requirements for attendees. Tell me what you see...I'll tell you what I see, CULT principles scattered throughout (bold and italics mine):

Quote:
1)
ENGAGING WITH ENTHUSIASM IN THE DAILY ACTIVITIES AND LABORS OF THE SCHOOL, DELIBERATELY SEEKING TO HONOR GOD WITH AN ATTITUDE OF EXPECTANCY AND APPRECIATION
2)
PURSUING CHRIST ABOVE ALL THINGS, SEEKING TO FIND THE FULLNESS OF BOTH HIS PRESENCE AND HIS ENABLING POWER TO LIVE OUT THE HIGH CALLING MANDATED IN THE GOSPEL
3)
DELIBERATELY CHOOSING TO FORGO THE NORMAL COMFORTS AND WORDLY ACCOUTERMENTS OF LIFE FOR A SEASON IN ORDER TO FOCUS ON THE FORMATION OF CHRISTIAN CHARACTER.
4)
CONSCIENTIOUSLY UPHOLDING THE VALUE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX, SEEKING WAYS IN WHICH TO PROTECT IT IN PURITY, ENCOURAGE IT IN NOBILITY, AND SPONSOR THE FORMATION OF TRUE CHRIST-CENTEREDNESS IN ITS BEARING.
5)
DILIGENTLY LABORING TO BE TIMELY IN ARRIVAL AT SCHOOL EVENTS, CONSISTENT IN ATTENDENCE, AND DUTIFUL IN PERFORMING ALL REQUIRED ASSIGNMENTS AND JOBS.
6)
RESPECTFULLY TREATING THE ELLERSLIE STAFF AND STUDENT POPULATION WITH DEFERENCE, FAVOR, AND HUMBLE SUBMISSION – HONORING EVERYONE PRESENT AS IF THEY WERE IN FACT MORE IMPORTANT AND OF GREATER VALUE THAN ONESELF. CHOOSING TO BE SMALL, OVERLOOKED, EVEN UNAPPRECIATED IF NECESSARY IN ORDER THAT GOD MIGHT CONSTRUCT A TRUE SERVANT-LEADER OUT OF SUCH WILLING CLAY.
7)
INTENTIONALLY CHOOSING TO AVOID ANY MANNER OF DISRESPECT TOWARD LEADERSHIP AND PARTICIPATION IN DEVISIVE ACTIVITIES THAT WOULD HINDER OTHERS PARTICIPATING IN THE SCHOOL
8)
HAPPILY FORGOING ANY PARTICIPATION IN ANY BEHAVIOR OF MORAL QUESTION, OR A POTENTIALLY COMPROMISING NATURE – SEEKING RATHER TO EXHIBIT THE EXCELLENCE AND VIRTUE OF THE LIFE CHRIST’S CROSS ENABLES ALL TO PURSUE.
well, alex, you might be right. you might be wrong. not sure why you pick on these things, for example. maybe it is clear to you?

i am reading Willard's Divine Conspiracy right now, and he talks about how we really think that Jesus' teachings are irrelevant to our everyday lives--read the book to understand that statement fully, please. For example, he states, we don't have "how to love your enemy" classes at church. i mean, that would be a little too shocking.

So do you think that statements like this (Ludy) are just sort of shocking in that way?

Also, I would've bolded #'s 7-8 as more weido-culty I-demand-your-slavish-obedience shaded kind of statements. #6 seems like a perfectly reasonable request that is "shockingly" Biblical.

??

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Anne Sokol wrote: well,

Anne Sokol wrote:
well, alex, you might be right. you might be wrong. not sure why you pick on these things
I have already said why, as you characterized as "picking on these things", I "pick". It was contained in my earlier post, however I will re-post it:
Quote:
Someone might wonder why all the fuss. Well first because I see danger here and while there is not a likelihood of readers or members here running to Ellerslie, I guarantee you that you will be hearing much more from Ludy, Gallagher and Ellerslie. They have big plans and it is founded on an age old platform of using God as a tool for self-improvement and turning the Gospel into a call for moral crusading and impressing God with our self-control.

Secondly, it interests me greatly in a personal way. A personal intellectual pursuit of mine, a hobby if you will, is studying rather extensively psychological and sociological dynamics in general and specifically their relationship within the church. I have found in some fundamentalist and evangelical quarters (too often mind you) some CULT principles in operation. So from here one might want to compare just the two main elements of an infant CULT and ask themselves do they see this or anything they might discover undesirable in Ellerslie, arising in the ministries with which they are involved and make pertinent decisions.

Anne Sokol wrote:
i am reading Willard's Divine Conspiracy right now, and he talks about how we really think that Jesus' teachings are irrelevant to our everyday lives--read the book to understand that statement fully, please. For example, he states, we don't have "how to love your enemy" classes at church. i mean, that would be a little too shocking.

So do you think that statements like this (Ludy) are just sort of shocking in that way?

Also, I would've bolded #'s 7-8 as more weido-culty I-demand-your-slavish-obedience shaded kind of statements. #6 seems like a perfectly reasonable request that is "shockingly" Biblical.

??

I am not sure who Willard believes the "we" are that really think that Jesus' teachings are irrelevant to their everyday life, I certainly don't so he may be creating a straw man to make an argument. I haven't read the book. No doubt there are some people in churches, believers and non-believers that are indifferent to our Lord's transformation for our lives but I don't think those positive toward loving their neighbor as themselves are opposed to any teaching on the topic and I believe that within the church there are many interested souls on the subject, so no, I don't think it would be shocking at all. In fact, I believe many are hungering for sound exegesis and application. Whether Willard can go further than providing a book on listing all the problems without actually publishing a book containing solutions, namely a book on how to love one's neighbor as one's self, or whether Willard even understands properly the biblical perspective on the doctrine remains to be seen.

As to the mild amount documentation I posted, understand Anne, I simply touched upon what was a rather large volume of the same narcissistic, manipulative and self-elevating language of Ludy and Gallagher so there is much more where that came from. How much do you need? On your behalf I will happily PM you much more or post it but I believe the point is quite clear, at least I find few contending.

But to your question, I find it interesting that of 6, 7 and 8 you would pick #6 as the most reasonable and possibly "biblical". This is just what people like Ludy are experts in, being wolves in sheep's clothing. In fact, #6 is the LEAST biblical and I will explain why:

Quote:
6)
RESPECTFULLY TREATING THE ELLERSLIE STAFF AND STUDENT POPULATION WITH DEFERENCE, FAVOR, AND HUMBLE SUBMISSION – HONORING EVERYONE PRESENT AS IF THEY WERE IN FACT MORE IMPORTANT AND OF GREATER VALUE THAN ONESELF. CHOOSING TO BE SMALL, OVERLOOKED, EVEN UNAPPRECIATED IF NECESSARY IN ORDER THAT GOD MIGHT CONSTRUCT A TRUE SERVANT-LEADER OUT OF SUCH WILLING CLAY.

First, and not even biblically, you have one of the major tenets of CULT principles and that is to strip the new disciple of their previous person and identity. In others words, you are to become nothing and everyone else superior. This is a psychological tool of manipulation. Anyone that has been in the military knows how it works and in some context it is actually appropriate, but NOT in God's body. It removes from you your legitimate standing in a community and creates for you a subordinate role so much so that EVERYONE PRESENT is to be viewed as of greater value than one's self.

But more importantly this is anti-biblical, it is counter to our Lord's teaching. While it appears "spiritual" or noble it is only because it is a familiar human means to achievement in some contexts but with regard to our spiritual enlightenment and advancement in our walk with the Lord, it is based in asceticism which is a doctrine of men and devils as a means toward spirituality or spiritual advancement.

Our Lord taught us to love our neighbor, how? As our selves. So if we take a position that we are less valuable or important than others we are actually NOT obeying our Lord by wrongly viewing ourselves as of lesser value. Because if we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must preserve value for ourselves at least equal to that of others. This requirement of Ludy's and Gallagher's is actually teaching error and impressing upon students that this is acceptable.

Secondly and more importantly the word "value" is completely out of bounds. Ludy and Gallagher equate submission to authority or deference and service to others as a "value" based context, it is not. They are wrong, hence the very strong red flag and constant egocentric theme of both men. You don't have to view yourself of lesser value to others to either submit to their authority or serve them. That is garbage but worse it is CULT methodology. Teaching members of an organization to devalue themselves is not a principle founded in discipleship, illuminating or helping one grow, rather it is an abusive practice in treating members as objects to serve the organization, its goals and its leadership. Just ask an abusive husband and his abused wife how it works. These are just large scale abusers, only they have couched it with pious words.

Our Lord values us and we too should value ourselves as his children. He never instructs us to submit or serve and base it in the value of others or the devaluation of ourselves. In fact the very opposite is taught and that principle is not based in value but in LOVE.

We are to love ourselves and others mutually and serve one another in love. This is the edict and directive of our Lord. While we do have contexts of authority, what is being prescribed here are not contexts such as with police, leaders or serving our brothers and sisters with mutual respect and value through love.

Anne, these people are exactly what Paul spoke of when he said to Timothy:

Quote:
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
These are wolves in sheep's clothing and are experts at attracting vulnerable sheep.

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The Monastic Ideal

Alex, I've found your posts intriguing. I'm not sure I'm ready to label the Ludy's a cult, but I do think that the whole program is promoting something quite similar to the medieval monastic ideal. Monasteries employed many of the techniques you've mentioned - isolation, message control, breakdown of previous personal, devaluing of individual - in their attempt to create a spiritual elite. I think many different types of organizations, some secular, employ the "monastic" model for behavior modification. Obviously, the geographical separation (you can't be a monk in your house in town with your family) is the first step, and geographical separation is employed by a number of groups, including Ellerslie, Christian camps, the Biggest Loser, and sales training seminars.

I actually think the Biggest Loser is a great example of the monastic ideal. People with serious weight and discipline issues (sin) go to a specialized facility (monastery) where they begin to lose their old habits and self-identity (take vows) as they do exactly what their trainers (abbots) tell them to, following a strict regimen (Benedictine Rule) in order to construct healthy habits and a new way of life (holiness). Is there something evil about this? I don't think so, and you've said that in certain situations it's appropriate. I think we agree, though, that it's a poor paradigm for spiritual growth. Groups like Ellerslie (maybe even L'Abri?) are rebuilding the system that Luther so strongly denounced.

If you're interested in groups like this, you should check out Neighborhood Bible Time, a parachurch group based out of Bethel Baptist in Schaumburg, IL. They take young men in their late teens to early twenties into their training facility for a few weeks where they are absolutely cut off from outside contact and bombard them with Keswick holiness doctrine and Finney's techniques (or very similar ones) for producing revival. Fasting, extended hours of prayer and devotion time, and a strict chain of authority are prominent features, as is the teaching on service and being lower than others around you. In fact, it was commonly said that the amount of revival God would send was in direct proportion to the evangelists' holiness, and that a lack of salvation decisions was often due to breaking the NBT rules. Then the young men are "commissioned" as evangelists and sent out 2-by-2 across the nation to preach evangelistic crusades for children and teens (and sometimes for adults). While on tour, they are not allowed personal phones or to watch media, must observe a strict schedule and a particular diet, and report back to the leader weekly. The whole thing seems to me to be based on Asbury's lay-evangelist model. By the way, I know all this because I went through it. Live and learn. Smile

My Blog: www.sacredpage.wordpress.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Anne Sokol's picture
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Alex,

i like talking to you here on SI, so this is not personal. not that you are making it so, I'm just clarifying Biggrin

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
I am not sure who Willard believes the "we" are that really think that Jesus' teachings are irrelevant to their everyday life, I certainly don't so he may be creating a straw man to make an argument. I haven't read the book.
of all people i've met on SI, YOU are one of the few that would actually read thru this book, and you will be intrigued by it. please read it! he has a brain like yours.

Quote:
6) RESPECTFULLY TREATING THE ELLERSLIE STAFF AND STUDENT POPULATION WITH DEFERENCE, FAVOR, AND HUMBLE SUBMISSION – HONORING EVERYONE PRESENT AS IF THEY WERE IN FACT MORE IMPORTANT AND OF GREATER VALUE THAN ONESELF. CHOOSING TO BE SMALL, OVERLOOKED, EVEN UNAPPRECIATED IF NECESSARY IN ORDER THAT GOD MIGHT CONSTRUCT A TRUE SERVANT-LEADER OUT OF SUCH WILLING CLAY.

First, and not even biblically, you have one of the major tenets of CULT principles and that is to strip the new disciple of their previous person and identity. In others words, you are to become nothing and everyone else superior. This is a psychological tool of manipulation. Anyone that has been in the military knows how it works and in some context it is actually appropriate, but NOT in God's body. It removes from you your legitimate standing in a community and creates for you a subordinate role so much so that EVERYONE PRESENT is to be viewed as of greater value than one's self.

. . . .

i don't know. could we get a clarification from Ludy? you are typing in a lot between the lines here, meanings that are really not clear from what is actually stated here.

actually, i would like to try and write Ludy himself and ask him to clarify his statement. that would be interesting. it may take a week or two, or never happen if he doesn't answer, but i'l post it here if the dialogue takes place.

;)

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Bill Gothard

Sounds to me like a rehash of Bill Gothard and his Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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Charlie wrote: If you're

Charlie wrote:

If you're interested in groups like this, you should check out Neighborhood Bible Time, a parachurch group based out of Bethel Baptist in Schaumburg, IL. They take young men in their late teens to early twenties into their training facility for a few weeks where they are absolutely cut off from outside contact and bombard them with Keswick holiness doctrine and Finney's techniques (or very similar ones) for producing revival. Fasting, extended hours of prayer and devotion time, and a strict chain of authority are prominent features, as is the teaching on service and being lower than others around you. In fact, it was commonly said that the amount of revival God would send was in direct proportion to the evangelists' holiness, and that a lack of salvation decisions was often due to breaking the NBT rules. Then the young men are "commissioned" as evangelists and sent out 2-by-2 across the nation to preach evangelistic crusades for children and teens (and sometimes for adults). While on tour, they are not allowed personal phones or to watch media, must observe a strict schedule and a particular diet, and report back to the leader weekly. The whole thing seems to me to be based on Asbury's lay-evangelist model. By the way, I know all this because I went through it. Live and learn. Smile

I was only vaguely familiar with this group but interestingly my few sources that encountered the group brought to my attention in past conversations, rather quickly, the issue of cult principles being used. Obviously the common objection to anyone discussing the merits of NBT and stating objections would be that because they are evangelistic they are immune from criticism. In other words, "How dare the work of God be criticized?". And of course my retort as the retort of many would be, "The work of God doesn't involve manipulating people".

These methods and this paradigm seem too often happily adopted in fundamentalist and Evangelical quarters.

An interesting quote from their website:

http://www.nbtime.org/evangelist.html

Quote:
The Evangelists bring lots of enthusiasm to each church...as the Evangelists preach, tell stories, and do Gospel tricks.
Your statement about the "holiness effect" or lack thereof reminds me of just how extensive this erring view is even among churches. It is as if the transformational work of the Spirit of God through the Word of God simply is insufficient in its process, being too slow and too weak. I do understand that even our Lord isolated himself on a few occasions but that was not from being disallowed by another but by his choice to be without distraction (and other reasons his divine mind, which I do not know and are not revealed in Scripture, determined). It was not to isolate himself from normal relationships as if he could accelerate spiritual growth or spur some revival and such relationships were obstacles in the way of God's work.

All disciples need to be taught dilberation in their walk and neither Ellerslie or NBT or any group using their model recognize its necessity, encourage it or have room for it. I will still assert Ellerslie is a Christian cult in its infancy. I accept others who, at this time, would not come to this conclusion, but I am comfortable stating so.

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Anne Sokol wrote: i like

Anne Sokol wrote:
i like talking to you here on SI, so this is not personal. not that you are making it so, I'm just clarifying Biggrin
Your thoughtfulness is appreciated though do know I am aware you have not alluded, either directly or implicitly, to anything personal so I do not take it personally. I invite aggressive and robust debate as well as thorough inquiry, discovery and challenges, after all that is the only way to Sharpen Iron!
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
I am not sure who Willard believes the "we" are that really think that Jesus' teachings are irrelevant to their everyday life, I certainly don't so he may be creating a straw man to make an argument. I haven't read the book.
Anne Sokol wrote:
of all people i've met on SI, YOU are one of the few that would actually read thru this book, and you will be intrigued by it. please read it! he has a brain like yours.
Your compliment is appreciated. I will take the time to track down the book and at least give it an appropriate introductory read and along with limited segments, though it may take a bit of time. We are headed for a vacation in a few days for a couple of weeks and then when I return I will have my hands full for a month or so.

Quote:
6) RESPECTFULLY TREATING THE ELLERSLIE STAFF AND STUDENT POPULATION WITH DEFERENCE, FAVOR, AND HUMBLE SUBMISSION – HONORING EVERYONE PRESENT AS IF THEY WERE IN FACT MORE IMPORTANT AND OF GREATER VALUE THAN ONESELF. CHOOSING TO BE SMALL, OVERLOOKED, EVEN UNAPPRECIATED IF NECESSARY IN ORDER THAT GOD MIGHT CONSTRUCT A TRUE SERVANT-LEADER OUT OF SUCH WILLING CLAY.

First, and not even biblically, you have one of the major tenets of CULT principles and that is to strip the new disciple of their previous person and identity. In others words, you are to become nothing and everyone else superior. This is a psychological tool of manipulation. Anyone that has been in the military knows how it works and in some context it is actually appropriate, but NOT in God's body. It removes from you your legitimate standing in a community and creates for you a subordinate role so much so that EVERYONE PRESENT is to be viewed as of greater value than one's self.

. . . .

Anne Sokol wrote:
i don't know. could we get a clarification from Ludy? you are typing in a lot between the lines here, meanings that are really not clear from what is actually stated here.

actually, i would like to try and write Ludy himself and ask him to clarify his statement. that would be interesting. it may take a week or two, or never happen if he doesn't answer, but i'l post it here if the dialogue takes place.

;)

I always have no objection and in fact encourage contacting the source of valid or unmerited controversy. In the case of Ludy, however, consider that you have a rather extensive body of expression by him and his views and intentions so he has already revealed a great deal that can be observed and noted in them.

Hence if he is a wolf in sheep's clothing, as I believe, and the intended orchestrator of an organization that includes rather elementarilyy erring principles which conflict with the Bible and reflect CULT tenets, in attempting to inaugurate and grow a "Christian" school, unless one is a rather cagey interviewer and appropriately presses Ludy, they will come away with answers from a skilled manipulator who quickly sensed what you wanted to hear or he thought would give him pass, and gave it to you.

I am not sure of the need, at least on this specific matter to contact Ludy for clarification, he seems quite clear in his use and intent when he says:

Quote:
HONORING EVERYONE PRESENT AS IF THEY WERE IN FACT MORE IMPORTANT AND OF GREATER VALUE THAN ONESELF. CHOOSING TO BE SMALL, OVERLOOKED, EVEN UNAPPRECIATED IF NECESSARY IN ORDER THAT GOD MIGHT CONSTRUCT A TRUE SERVANT-LEADER OUT OF SUCH WILLING CLAY.
There is nothing mysterious here, he believes devaluing-self is part of the formula for God constructing a "true servant-leader" and the Bible categorically rejects this.

So if you wish to develop a list of questions and then contact Ludy, I recommend you engage the inquiry, at least in your mind, with the strictest demands for the frankest and clearest speech.

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On the surface

I appreciate all the responses. The danger that I perceived with this group is that their principles sound wonderful on the surface, but there is an underlying ickiness (that's a really technical term, I know) that bothers me. I'm glad others felt some trepidation too... well... sorta' glad. I'm never happy to see error being perpetrated, even with what appear to be the best of intentions. I wasn't surprised to see Gothard mentioned in this thread.

Intensive training in itself is not a bad thing, but the terminology, such as what Bro. Charlie pointed out- the use of the word 'hero' really got me- is pure hard core marketing. I was also thinking that most character training should be taking place in the home. Perhaps for kids who were not parented, time spent in a monastic setting might be just the ticket. But if you've been reared in a Christian home, and you don't know how to be responsible, respectful, dutiful, and pure- what is a few weeks going to do that 18 years didn't?

Maybe it is parents who should get hauled away to a monastery in order to be able to provide better and more consistent training at home. The girl that I heard about Ellerslie from thinks it sounds like Heaven, because all her girlfriends, even at church, are basically shallow and self-absorbed, immersed in trivia such as Twilight and oh-my-gosh-isn't-Edward-sooooo-cute? She'd love to be with a bunch of people who want to serve God and do something that sounds amazing and spiritually productive. Who wants to tell her that Ellerslie may be a bad thing? I'd rather stick a fork in my eye- but I'm worried for her if she goes.

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Totally unfamiliar

I was totally unfamiliar with Ludy and Ellerslie until this got brought up here, but I'll echo concerns about manipulation and such. Personally, I got a bit of a chuckle while perusing the website, over the explanation of the name (being William Wallace's hometown) and wishing for a time when "men were men and women were women". I don't consider myself a blatant feminist but throughout history women have had to do their share of defending themselves and their children while the men were away. Hiding the girls and the silver from the Redcoats while standing one's ground does not exactly sound like shrinking violets.

Susan, I hope the young lady you work with can be steered into something more stable. I have a few rants about various cultic type groups but I'm trying to enjoy my Sunday afternoon.

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What am I missing?

I'm about a month late noticing this thread, but fwiw, saw the video and I don't see what the big deal is. The emphasis on honor and--yes, gender roles--resonates deeply with me.
Now what they actually do I have no idea, but it's interesting to me that folks who also have no idea are so quick to start saying "cult." I wonder what's there that inspires that?
(I also have no idea what they believe beyond "the Bible" honor, and truth, but these are excellent starting points for a school of any sort)

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Aaron Blumer wrote: I'm about

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I'm about a month late noticing this thread, but fwiw, saw the video and I don't see what the big deal is. The emphasis on honor and--yes, gender roles--resonates deeply with me.
Now what they actually do I have no idea, but it's interesting to me that folks who also have no idea are so quick to start saying "cult." I wonder what's there that inspires that?
(I also have no idea what they believe beyond "the Bible" honor, and truth, but these are excellent starting points for a school of any sort)
It is disappointing to have you raise this question in the way you do, with a certain accusatory flavor. The fact is, they use certain principles used by cults and I have, in rather detail, laid out my arguments for which you provide no rebuttal, in your wondering "what inspires that". You can state to not see what the big deal is, while several people do see the incongruities of their ministry and recognize certain improprieties, but until you are willing to identify on which point(s) I or anyone else err I see no real service to the discussion and debate in inserting an unappealing ad hominem question.

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Um...

Alex, you're too uptight, my friend. I may be guilty of skimming too much of the thread, but if you'd like to win me over, how about if you just recap your case for me and answer the question? The question being What am I missing? And also the quasi-question I wonder what inspires that. There's just so much verbiage up there in the thread I really can't make heads or tales of it--and I don't mean that it any insulting way, it's just cranial thickness on my part (or ADHD maybe). So instruct me, I'm listening. (But it's late in the day and I have a headache, so maybe use small words and short sentences?)

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It's the marketing flavor

Aaron Blumer wrote:
I'm about a month late noticing this thread, but fwiw, saw the video and I don't see what the big deal is. The emphasis on honor and--yes, gender roles--resonates deeply with me.
Now what they actually do I have no idea, but it's interesting to me that folks who also have no idea are so quick to start saying "cult." I wonder what's there that inspires that?
(I also have no idea what they believe beyond "the Bible" honor, and truth, but these are excellent starting points for a school of any sort)

There were certain phrases, like being a 'hero' that immediately caught my eye and made me go "Hmmmmm". Then as I continued to read, a few more things gave me the heebie-jeebies, which is why I started this thread, because I thought I might be interpreting the concept in light of my own spiritual baggage. But others saw the same things that I did, so I suppose I'm not completely bonkers. Smile

I think 'cult' whenever I see what is IMO a demand for loyalty and allegiance to a man or group, as well as the separation, or as Bro. Charlie put it, the 'monastic' lifestyle. However, some people might need that, as I said in an earlier post. But a child who has been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord shouldn't need an artificial 'boot camp' experience to pump up their walk with God.

Young folks often have a tremendous amount of zeal, but they haven't tempered that energy with knowledge and experience, which is why Ellerslie concerns me just a bit. I've probably read too much criminal psychology, and tend to think everyone's a predator anyway, but young folks do have this particular vulnerability, which, if exploited, can do some major damage.

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Aaron Blumer wrote: Alex,

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Alex, you're too uptight....but if you'd like to win me over
And this is geared toward your winning me over?

Aaron Blumer wrote:
how about if you just recap your case for me and answer the question? The question being What am I missing? And also the quasi-question I wonder what inspires that. There's just so much verbiage up there in the thread I really can't make heads or tales of it--and I don't mean that it any insulting way, it's just cranial thickness on my part (or ADHD maybe). So instruct me, I'm listening. (But it's late in the day and I have a headache, so maybe use small words and short sentences?)
I believe I have dutifully researched and presented my case. I have observed all participants, besides your anomalous inability to "make heads or tells of it", able to follow and respond so I am a bit surprised that one as gifted as yourself in writing and publishing is finding this rather limited discussion so difficult but I accept your words without any contention.

However, with all brotherly respect, unless a fair attempt by you is made in earnest to read my research and arguments, I do not see as a fair demand, that I restate them by truncating some of their essential elements. I will ask you, kindly and with respect, to please go beyond "skimming" and read the presentation and arguments and if you find certain points objectionable, present which ones in your rebuttal.

I understand on some days none of us have our best capacity to read all threads and the demands of our body with headaches and other things may serve as a distraction so maybe on another day or period when you feel less "cranial thickness" you will review my presentation that I believe should fairly be digested and then any specific points of incompleteness, obscurity or simple erring you believe exists be pointed out and challenged or solicitation be made for clarity or more support on my part.

Alex

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My issue with holding the

My issue with holding the 'monastic' lifestyle against them is there are numerous cases in scripture where people lived a kind of monastic lifestyle, for a short or long period of time. I have not gone through the OT, but I am sure a number of men and women lived a certain time in the desert and heard God speak to them. In the NT there is John the Baptist who had just enough to live. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. Paul spent three days with no food or drink right after losing his sight. He then spent a while in the desert.

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Anyone else?

Thanks, Susan.
Alex, it doesn't look like it's going to be possible for you and I to discuss the subject.

I'd be interested in hearing what any of the others who alluded to a cultishness in this group can tell me to help me see the connection.
It's interesting to me that Charlie would find monasticness all that objectionable. I mean, the monks did it first and it wasn't cultlike then was it?

I thought it might be everything seeming a little too perfect and grandiose... which is maybe what Susan is saying about the marketing and "hero" thing. But these are, at worst, criticisms of the video production. I guess I'd rather see them as folks bent on pursuing excellence and aiming to be a cut above all the trivial and shoddy stuff that seems to dominate our culture.
But like I said before, I don't know anything about them either. But in the absence of info, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

[br ] Edit: might help to add that I know of at least three other groups that have the same look feel and sound (everything sparkling perfect, and "save the world" lofty, etc.) that are not cults.

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Daniel wrote: My issue with

Daniel wrote:
My issue with holding the 'monastic' lifestyle against them is there are numerous cases in scripture where people lived a kind of monastic lifestyle, for a short or long period of time. I have not gone through the OT, but I am sure a number of men and women lived a certain time in the desert and heard God speak to them. In the NT there is John the Baptist who had just enough to live. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. Paul spent three days with no food or drink right after losing his sight. He then spent a while in the desert.

Daniel,

The distinction here, however, is that such occasions are voluntary and not viewed as a necessary gateway to spiritual enlightenment. Via the direct wording and disposition of Ellerslie, it, in the least (and I believe more than this) implies such monasticism is a necessary element of the formula for spiritual enlightenment.

This "requirement" is neither presented explicitly or implicitly in the Bible for spiritual enlightenment and growth. While they are historical records they are not hermeneutically to be treated as prescriptive.

But it isn't any of these singular issues alone that, by themselves, one might tolerate and not conclude or be impressed that a group such as Ellerslie is approaching a cultic profile, rather it is the sum of the individual parts to which my earlier posts deal with in detail.

And even more than the organizational structure of Ellerslie, which again I believe embraces certain cultic themes, are the two personalities which give rise to my great concern. I encourage anyone to give careful attention to both Ludy and Gallagher and some of their self-elevating postures which make tend to promote them as the source of enlightenment for the group as expressed by Ludy himself in his revealing statements:

Quote:
I was the above–average kid with decent grades, a lot of friends, good hygiene, and fairly respectable moral character who thought that I was God’s agent of change on planet earth. But God had to introduce me to the fact that I was nothing more than a “self–built man.”...I am a man who absolutely loves and adores His King, and I want every single person on planet earth to taste and know what I have discovered in the intimate exchange of my life for the life of God
Even at an early age Ludy, by his own admission, is besought with visions of grandeur as he imagined he might possibly be "God's agent of change on planet earth". It is critical to note that while Ludy pleads with his audience that he had an epiphany and understood he was self-built, it appears quite glaringly that the dismantling of the "old Ludy" and the rebuilding into the "new Ludy" didn't involve a capitulation of his grandiosity.

And so he concludes that as a result of this transformation, one might expect Ludy to speak with words such as "instead of being self-built, it is now not about me but about the Lord". But this is not what Ludy does. Here Ludy once again centers himself with all objects revolving around Eric Ludy. Ludy says, "I want every single person on planet earth to taste and know what I have discovered in the intimate exchange of my life for the life of God". Ludy paints himself as the prototype, the discoverer and the illuminate.

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Since when

do Baptists (sorry, I'm a Spiritual Kinshiper)and Protestants look on monasteries with approval?

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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Boo Monasteries

Aaron Blumer wrote:

I'd be interested in hearing what any of the others who alluded to a cultishness in this group can tell me to help me see the connection.
It's interesting to me that Charlie would find monasticness all that objectionable. I mean, the monks did it first and it wasn't cultlike then was it?

Aaron, I don't believe I used the word cult. I wouldn't describe it that way. However, I do very much object to the monastic principle. My objection is no doubt due to the influence of Luther's thought on me, for he eventually came to realize that the entire monastic way of life was counter to the Reformation doctrine he was espousing. I was looking for an online copy of Martin Luther's Judgment on Monastic Vows to show you, but I couldn't find one. At its root, the monastic life pits serving God against serving the world (human society). The world is a stain, and the best life is the unstained life. Instead of loving God by loving neighbor, the monastic removes himself from neighbors to concentrate on loving God. Monasticism is anti-family, anti-church, anti-society, and anti-gospel. It requires one to come out of normal contexts in order to be sanctified, whereas the New Testament teaches us that we are sanctified within and through our normal contexts, perhaps particularly through the ones which we most wish we could escape.

Regarding Ellerslie, I see another issue. There seems to be an underlying assumption that sanctification is simply the result of applied effort. Somewhere on the website they described the first phase as have "white-hot Christianity" poured into the student. I'm not sure what that means, but I am disturbed by the implications. Perhaps Ellerslie is nothing like NBT and other groups with which I have some experience, but usually a phrase like that one means that the students are subjected to some very intense "spiritual exercises." They will read their Bibles for hours every day, hear messages that focus heavily on "surrender" and "brokenness," told that they will be as close to God as they want to be, scolded about the most insignificant "sins," etc.

At this point, there are interesting parallels both with the monastic ideal and with Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises, the prototype (consciously or unconsciously) of all groups that use these tactics. First, the amount of time and effort invested in Bible reading and prayer become the key factor in spiritual success, so that to be really spiritual, one must have a lifestyle that supports hours of uninterrupted meditation and reading. Mothers of 4 are excluded already. Johann von Staupitz, Luther's mentor, had some great remarks about this kind of monkery in his Libellus. Second, at the forefront of theology in these groups is not the "Christ for me" of the Reformation but the "me for Christ" of Rome. These groups may be orthodox in justification by faith, but subsequent sanctification is an almost reversed monergism. Grace recedes into the background as "progress" is made and discipline cemented. Third, other Christians are judged to be inferior for not having gone through the same training or attained to the same level of discipline as this group.

So let me wrap up before I get obnoxiously long. Ellerslie seems to me to promote a kind of sanctification that you can't get in your normal everyday life environment. As such, I regard the Ellerslie approach to sanctification as faulty. Any approach to sanctification that can't be done by a working parent isn't the New Testament approach to sanctification. The search for a "fast-track" method of sanctification is doomed to failure. Ellerslie seems to undervalue the role of family, church, and the sacraments in sanctification. In fact, they must substitute them with some kind of spiritual exercises. I think Ellerslie stinks of all the "higher life," "deeper life," and Keswick doctrine that has been foisted primarily upon teenagers since the turn away from orthodox Calvinism and a word-and-sacrament based, church-oriented, progressive sanctification. I do believe that there is utility in "spiritual retreats," but they are supposed to be a withdrawal for rest and rejuvenation, not a boot camp where "white-hot Christianity" is poured down your throat.

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Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

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Next time...

I'm just going to wait until Bro. Charlie posts so all I have to say is "Ditto". Biggrin

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Reflections on Ellerslie & your comments

Ok so this is interesting, having read several of the Ludy's books I googled "Ellerslie & Ludy" and was a little surprised to come across this discussion board. It is very grieving to me to see so much, largely unfounded negative, derogatory and accusatory things said against people who are actually striving to live and help others in a genuine Christian life. Based on the Bible.

Now if the majority of you weren't professing to be Christians, this would be fully understandable; but you are all claiming to be Christians, judging people whom you clearly know very little about and making sweeping, serious accusations about their personalities, which are founded on your opinion, popular science (mostly misapplied) and biased arrogance. I have yet to see any genuine concerns which take the Bible into serious consideration. Sure a few passages are bantered about but without taking into consideration any biblical context or argument.

-> Discipleship is a lifelong process, but a particular time for teaching, experience and other aspects is often a biblical season of discipleship. i.e Elijah & Elisha, Jesus & his disciples, Paul teaching Timothy before giving him the pastoral role in a church. Jesus had 30 years of intense learning and life experience before the next part of his ministry begins. Sometimes its just humble to take some time to learn and spend time with God before approaching another area of life/ ministry.

-> expectations of victorious living are biblical but hardcore. We prefer not to hear them or apply them so we can justify our mundane and complacent "spirituality". That is the context of 2 Timothy 3.5, the form of godliness which lacks self-control etc etc. and which most Western Christians are living in, rather than believing and living in the light of the true gospel. Just read the Bible and this becomes clear, rather than comparing ourselves to the rest of the world and thinking that we are doing ok.

-> Sure its expensive, but life is. Most Americans spend way more than this on media in a few years, also God provides, might mean a little faith. And scholarships are available, I guess setting a high budget is so that people need to be intentional are sure about it.
->On the whole "cult" front -it's good to be discerning, not so good to define cult by the world's standards, early Christianity was considered a cult by men, but I think God would disagree.

 Re: Ellerslie code of conduct --1) which Alex objects to as a cult principle is a sensible application of the biblical principle "Do everything without complaining or arguing..." Philippians 2.14-15; 3) Also biblical principle the modern Church chooses to take very lightly -Luke 18.29-30; 17.33 etc etc. 5) If you choose to join this group for a season, this principle encourages participation and submission which is also biblical i.e.Titus 3.14. As for 6) I am astonished about all the fuss, this is at the heart of the gospel; from Jesus washing his disciples' feet (John 13.14-17) to Mark 9.35, or "If anyone would come after me, he must deny HIMSELF and take up his cross and follow me" Mark 8.34 to the beautiful passage in Philippians (which I see very clearly applied in this rule) --Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…who took the nature of a servant...he humbled himself and became obedient to death –even death on a cross. Phil 2.3-11
 With regard to orphans, sure children have been abused, many are being abused right now. But this should NEVER be an excuse to duck out of our calling (James 1.27). If these guys are actually applying the Bible to their lives (having themselves adopted 2 kids) and now encouraging younger Christians to, we should be applauding, encouraging and obeying the Bible in this area ourselves. NOT running scared and throwing wild accusations over our shoulder. On a practical note, which I’m sure you haven’t considered how is bringing 21 kiddos from Haiti, living in poverty and very dark circumstances to live with a group of God loving adults and giving them some exciting training, a change of scenery and an opportunity of a life time a bad thing. Most American parents pay for their kids to go off with choir/soccer/dance group to tour, the Ludy’s are organising it for these kids who would probably have never got the experience otherwise.
 With regard to Alex’ personal attack on Eric Ludy & Steve Gallagher –I think you are wrong, but that’s opinion. Your attack on the issue of confession is one sided –the Bible institutes spiritual leaders i.e. pastors, elders, deacons not as substitutes for God, but to help us and give us the guidance, encouragement and discipline we need (kinda like earthly parents). Hence the passage in James 5.16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. Not just to anyone you have harmed but to a respected and loved Christian who will help, hold you accountable and pray for you. Hence the need for the Church & meeting together.
 Issues such as TV are issues of personal conscience, but immersing yourself in the world’s media stream is dangerous and ungodly, esp considering the majority of unwholesome and unhelpful content in the media, if you apply Phil4.8 to the TV, your watching hours will be considerably cut. Plus given the issue of sexual sin, encouraging a man or woman struggling with this to watch TV is like sitting an alcoholic outside a pub.
 If you actually read Eric Ludy’s books they are absolutely the opposite of self-improvement, the reason they are hardcore (and biblical) is because they are about death to self and living in the light of the real gospel.
 With regard to “seeing danger” Alex, do you “see danger” reading the Bible? I do, I see danger to my pride, my selfishness and I embrace it (mostly, except when I am embracing my selfishness and pride and sin) and cling to it, cos this is the path Jesus commands us to take.
 Personally I love the emphasis on striving for glory (God’s), clinging to holiness (1Peter 1.15) and other noble themes. That’s just biblical and inspires us on to something more than boring, complacent of sin and defeated spirituality.

In conclusion, this isn’t a personal attack on anyone, this isn’t me trying to defend Eric & Leslie Ludy, Steve Gallagher or Ellerslie –they don’t need that. This comes with much love and much sadness, in the form of a rebuke and an exhortation to those to whom it applies, a rebuke for their negative, malicious and unfounded criticisms and an exhortation to go back to God’s Word. To really get to grips with the gospel, the whole gospel and God’s message and calling on our lives. I believe that in the light of these you may see the Mr Gallagher’s & the Ludy’s message and books on a very different light. Be discerning but don’t mistake discernment for unrepentant sin and persecution of people who actually follow Jesus down the narrow path.

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It's hard to believe that no

It's hard to believe that no one saw the error in Alex's posts for nearly a month. Alex (not sure you'll ever even read this), let me first state that you were unnecessarily rude in your posts with sarcastic humor. I'll say that this isn't really an important point, but my judging of your character is pretty much all I saw in your arguments against Eric Ludy and Steve Gallagher. I saw very little of what was important and that's judgment of their teachings. Instead, I saw shallow misinterpretations of their words. I can say through simply reading one of Eric Ludy's books that what you've said about him was mostly you misunderstanding his point and you were way off from what he actually believes.

The Ellerslie statement of faith is here: http://ellerslie.com/StatementOfBelief.html
I found no essential errors in their beliefs, but true, sound, Biblical beliefs. Therefore, I will not sit here and proclaim that they are not Christians or even close to a CULT (Capitalizing it like you did). Simply, you have judged their character and the way they speak, which I must say is extremely shallow and has no strength. I read through everything you wrote and basically, I thought it was garbage. If you're going to speak against group of believers, talk against their teachings, which as I said before are quite Biblical.

Quote:
Secondly, it interests me greatly in a personal way. A personal intellectual pursuit of mine, a hobby if you will, is studying rather extensively psychological and sociological dynamics in general and specifically their relationship within the church. I have found in some fundamentalist and evangelical quarters (too often mind you) some CULT principles in operation. So from here one might want to compare just the two main elements of an infant CULT and ask themselves do they see this or anything they might discover undesirable in Ellerslie, arising in the ministries with which they are involved and make pertinent decisions.

I find it absolutely horrible that you make a hobby out of judging personality and character instead of teaching. You do no one any benefit by doing this. In fact, while you may be correct in some areas, this "hobby" of yours could lead readers to dividing from sound, Biblical brothers and sisters in Christ and I believe this sort of stuff has lead to many divisions in the Church. Matt 7:1 I think highly applies to this situation, and I don't use that verse lightly like it is often used. John 7:24 says "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." Stop judging on such shallow things. You do not even know these teachers. Simply read one book and you'll realize that most of what you've said is bogus.

Know that Ellerslie is somewhat of a college. Upon completion of their course, students receive a 2-year ministerial degree (unaccredited). Is the idea of a school creating rules for students to obey an attribute of a CULT or simply a very common thing for a school to do? And to add Biblical principles to their list of rules is all the better. I see no error in this and it will train the students to honor authority during their time in this school, not allowing "CULT leaders" to rule over their lives.

As for tv, I don't think Steve is saying to isolate ourselves from all other ideas. In fact, I don't see where you even got that from. We all know that television in today's world is filled with all sorts of abominable things. There are fine things to watch on tv, but when we immerse ourselves into it, it can be dangerous in that it can cause us to be lead towards worldliness. This can be said for just about everything outside of Christ. When we immerse ourselves into anything in this world, we can so easily enter into a state where we're drawing our joy, our peace, and our strength from those things instead of Christ and those seemingly harmless things become sinful idols in our lives.
For what Steve said about a spiritual leader, I do not think that he is talking in the sense that you are thinking. When we are struggling in a sin, it is good to seek a "spiritual leader" such as a pastor or other elder in the Church to help you and be accountable to. I do not think that he is speaking of someone to be a medium between us and God. Christ is our medium and I'm quite sure that Steve Gallagher agrees with that statement.

You have definitely judged Eric Ludy on such a shallow basis that I can almost say that it's stupid. Through reading one of his books, it can be seen that when he speaks, he throws in a lot of adjectives and image words. He speaks with a high level of vocabulary to express what he's saying. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. It's simply an author's unique voice and everyone has their own voice. So when he's speaking of his child and speaking highly of his name, I don't think that he's expressing pride and arrogance. It's a harmless family sort of pride and it seems to me that that whole blog post of his is really just bringing beauty to his baby girl. After reading it and reading your response, I can clearly see that you twisted it and made it into something it was not.
As for him talking about himself, he starts off by talking about his pride and selfishness. But then he goes on to point out that he realized he was wrong and that now Christ lives in him. This must be outwardly expressed in all of our lives. Through regeneration at the moment of salvation, our lives are changed. We're given new hearts and new minds and we are filled with eternal life. Is it sin to say that we desire for the whole world to know this? That Christ and His good news truly changes the fabric of a man? No it isn't. To say that I have been changed by God and that now I want the world to know this and for men to come to salvation is not to make myself a prototype and bring glory to myself, but to bring glory to God and be a living example or the power of the Gospel. Again, you misinterpreted his words.

You must know that Eric Ludy is focused on bringing Christianity back to its historic roots. His desire is to move away from this rise of postmodern thinking that truth is like a spring instead of a rock and go back to a Christianity that stands on the unchangeable word of God. His influences are historic men of God such as Luther, Tozer, and C.T. Studd. He believes in reformed theology and teaches that the manly passion and zeal for God needs to be brought back in the Church and we need to begin storming the gates of hell for the lost. He's against repainting a new Christianity, but instead bringing it back to the way it was in the 1st century. This is far from CULT thinking and I'm afraid that you are wrong Alex. Read a book of his and you will see that you have done more judging of his Type A personality than his actual teachings. In that, none of your arguments have proved to stand as I read them. I simply saw shallow arguments against flimsy topics that you clearly had little knowledge about. I hope that your words do not bring division in the Church.

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PStephens wrote: I simply

PStephens wrote:
I simply saw shallow arguments against flimsy topics that you clearly had little knowledge about. I hope that your words do not bring division in the Church.

I don't think that this is issue is important enough to enough people that they would bother to get excited about it. Only people who are associated with Ellerslie or have had a wonderful experience there would care enough to worry about the "division in the church". One person's post on SI probably won't bring much division...at least not if it is about Ellerslie...

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Both ways

PStephens... you have some valid points regarding Alex's tone, etc.
But you come close to similar things your own post.... for example...

Quote:
I find it absolutely horrible that you make a hobby out of judging personality and character instead of teaching. You do no one any benefit by doing this. In fact, while you may be correct in some areas, this "hobby" of yours could lead readers to dividing from sound, Biblical brothers and sisters in Christ and I believe this sort of stuff has lead to many divisions in the Church.

I absolutely agree with you that it's best to focus on the teachings when it comes to Ellerslie and other groups. It would probably also be better to focus on what Alex is "teaching" when answering him. (Which I attempted to do, but couldn't get clear exactly what he was asserting... this is one reason why shorter posts are usually better)

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Aaron, you're right. I

Aaron, you're right. I probably could have left that out, but it truly doesn't seem so good if he's making a practice out of it.

And Becky, one person getting a false view of another believer to have negative feelings towards them and divide from them is enough division to be a problem. To talk with slander about another believer is a problem and it should be dealt with.

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Not slander

A forum is like an internet coffee shop, and the communications that take place here are often opinion and should be treated as such. There are others besides Alex who are taken aback by some of the statements on the Ellerslie website and the apparent positions of the leadership on certain topics. Alex's posts might contain the strongest language, but there's no need to accuse anyone of trying to cause division amongst the brethren by expressing concerns and cautions.

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Divisions

The lines get pretty fine, and we know that in Scripture peace and unity are not quite at the very top of the values list. That is, other things are presented as more important, like truth, pure doctrine, obedience, etc. So you have passages that call for taking note of certain types of folks and having no fellowship with them, and the like. And James says the wisdom from above is both pure and peaceable (with pure "first"... not that peaceable is optional but there's some ranking going on there).

So what all that adds up to is that people trying to be obedient to passages that call for pure doctrine and practice will sometimes err by not being peacable when they should and people pursuing peace will sometimes err by not being as careful of doctrine/practice as they should. Human nature.

So we try to figure out where the line is and nudge folks back toward peace when it seems they're over it or too close, but it's just about always a tough call... and we always want to honor motivations whenever possible. It's doubtful that "slander" ever applies to a person who does not intend to harm the 'target' so much as he/she intends to protect others. But its messy sorting it all out. Mostly, we hope to give both sides of a question opportunity to at least lay the facts out.

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For anyone willing to read my

For anyone willing to read my somewhat "comprehensive" post(s) that deal with the issues and can identify a specific question(s) or objection(s) and present them in a way that it is clear a response is being sought from me and what kind of response (more evidence, clarity of meaning of certain words and so on, reasons for interpreting my findings as I do or more cause within my own mind) I will be happy to respond.

In the spirit of peace I will shy away from defending myself from personal comments by others on this thread.

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Alex Guggenheim wrote: In the

Alex Guggenheim wrote:

In the spirit of peace I will shy away from defending myself from personal comments by others on this thread.

In the spirit of an "internet forum" discussion, it isn't really necessary, Alex. If no one had strong feelings about anything, there would be no discussion.

Reviewing something negatively on the internet isn't slander, IMO--it's simply your opinion. When it is a biblical matter, things often get "heavy". Smile

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Thanks for your recognition

Thanks for your recognition of the validity of addressing inaccuracies expressed by others about one's self.

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Boil it down

Alex, I'd still much appreciate it if you could take the time to boil your views down to a short summary.

Would it fair to say your argument is basically this?

A. Cults tend to have certain traits
B. Ellerslie seems to have these traits
C. Ellerslie is cult-like

So I'm asking two things, really: Do I have your reasoning right and are the qualifiers "seems to" and "like" accurate or would you put it more strongly?

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Aaron, Your summation is

Aaron,

Your summation is inaccurate and would not fairly represent my argument. As to the qualifiers, I would accept that at some points, "appears to" "seems to" and "like" may actually be better fits.

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my 2 cents

and that's all this is, 2 cents . . .

I read Leslie's Authentic Beauty a few years back, and it is an excellent book for any woman of any age. It's very good, very grounded.

I really raised an eyebrow at Alex's reaction to their website, and I really think he is probably reading way too much into it that isn't there, but . . .

it's a public forum, and we can all have our own views.

maybe alex should read at least one of his books?

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And maybe...Alex has

And maybe...Alex has Smile ...and possibly more than one.

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Anne, I have hours of Ludy's

Anne,

I have hours of Ludy's teaching on MP3. I have listened rather thoroughly along with reading his material.

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Ellerslie from an experienced person, finally

Great to see the questions and the speculations on what Ellerslie is. Susan, Ellerslie is a model school worth taking time to examine. When I say examine, I dont mean only the means of electronic world. I feel like some in the discussion are like the old midieval days where the philosophers asked how many teeth are in the horse's mouth without looking first to count. Well, I have visited Ellerslie and second, have sent my two oldest sons (at their choosing!). It could not have been a better choice for many reasons. They have learned life lessons very well and have fallen in love with Scripture in a new and fresh way. My background? Master of Divinity and Bible College degree and have been in administration and have taught in Christan Colleges and Graduate schools. (big deal to most people, but hopefully it at least says I have done my homework). Eric Ludy is the real deal and like anyone in leadership he will get accused without good foundation. As far as the monestary or monastic life, it is not that way. I have been to a trapist monestary for a real monastic experience and Ellerslie is not even close. An old fashioned method of debunking something is to create a strawman like some have done in this forum and then destroy it. Well, back to reality. Ellerslie has taught my two oldest Joshua and Aaron some great spiritual disciplines. we started them at home and Ellerslie comes along side us and does a good job at pointing them to great things. Yes, in these past weeks they have had one day where they prayed for 21 hours as a student body with one meal interruption. Well, it was not planned by any person, it was truly Spirit led and inspired. People were changed, delivered, and set free from some difficult areas and the fruit continues. Love the discussion Alex, and Charlie and the others. Take the pot shots but there is nothing like reality to measure your statements. I testify that it is not a cult. Far from it. It is building character that we could only desire some church people would posess. I highly recommend the Ellerslie experience to every parent. Parents who visit are not disappointed. All leave asking how they can get others to come visit. The girls are honored by the men in ways they never have experienced and the men are taught to honor the girls in ways they will never forget. Very positive. here is my risk. my email is brucekinabrew@hotmail.com if you want more one on one discussion. I will discuss here as well. Take your best shot. Make it informed and you will do better.

Bruce Kinabrew

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What makes a "cult"

When it comes down to it, two things make a cult:
1) Unbibical doctrine
2) Unbiblical practice... usually of a particular sort. There are various and sundry "marks" of a cult that have to do with authoritarianism, a very closed community, indoctrination by means of physical rigor/"brainwashing," etc.

So to make things simple, what is Ellerslie's doctrine. If it's orthodox, folks have a pretty tough task making a case that it's a cult. Haven't seen a cult yet that was doctrinally sound. So that would be the simplest way to answer that question.
Bruce, one expression in your post that caught my eye was in reference to this 21 hour day of prayer & fasting being "inspired." What do you believe and what does Ellerslie believe about the Holy Spirit? What does "inspiration" mean to you?

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Brucekinabrew

Brucekinabrew wrote:
Ellerslie is a model school worth taking time to examine. When I say examine, I dont mean only the means of electronic world. I feel like some in the discussion are like the old midieval days where the philosophers asked how many teeth are in the horse's mouth without looking first to count
Well when horses write books, give interviews and make available hours upon hours taped lessons about their thoughts regarding their magnificent teeth (and any and all other ideas) which include documentation of views about themselves that reflect a strain of megalomania in delusions of grandeur with which indeed that horse is comfortable publishing, well I believe that I’ve seen quite a bit of the horse by way of his own explanation to determine that there are some red flags.

But even at this moment, when Eric Ludy makes imprudent statements such as http://www.ellerslie.com/Taste_of_Ellerslie_Training.html Taste of Ellerslie Training :

Quote:
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is manly...When the manly stuff is brought back to the Church, it causes a sharp discomfort to the human soul.
I have absolutely no qualms about pointing to this as one of the many obvious examples of imbalance in his teaching. The gospel has nothing to do with gender value regarding its potency. It's potency is far beyond masculinity, its power is divine. And any discomfort that is caused has nothing to do with introducing anything manly, it has to do with the work of the divine, both in word and in person. For the sake of everything sound, statements like these come from an apprentice, not a teacher. Unfortunately this kind of naivety is far too often present in Ludy's communications.
Brucekinabrew wrote:
Eric Ludy is the real deal and like anyone in leadership he will get accused without good foundation
Feel free to address all of the points I have already documented such as his delusions of grandeur as a little Martin Luther, an agent of change for the planet as a teenager and now as an adult with his imagined role as the illuminate for his followers. The quotes are all documented. Feel free to explain these away. Coincidentally, while Eric is found to have held grandiose view as a kid:
http://harvesthousepublishers.com/books_nonfictioninterview.cfm?ID=73
Quote:
I was the above–average kid ...who thought that I was God’s agent of change on planet earth.

His wife, Leslie writes about herself at age 7:
http://www.ellerslie.com/Why_Ellerslie.html
Quote:
When I was seven, I wrote these words in my journal: “Someday, I want to become a world-changer!”
Rather interesting and coincidental they shared almost identical views of themselves growing up.
Brucekinabrew wrote:
these past weeks they have had one day where they prayed for 21 hours as a student body with one meal interruption. Well, it was not planned by any person, it was truly Spirit led and inspired. People were changed, delivered, and set free from some difficult areas and the fruit continues
Your account is written as one with first hand knowledge and not as a visitor seeing this reference is to “these past weeks”. Now it might be that your sons told you about this but then that would make it second hand knowledge, no better than anyone else reading anyone else’s account.
Brucekinabrew wrote:
Love the discussion Alex, and Charlie and the others. Take the pot shots but there is nothing like reality to measure your statements. I testify that it is not a cult
No one said it was a cult. I do believe, as documented earlier and as stated earlier in my investigation:
Quote:
I see, CULT principles scattered throughout
But I do not recall specifically saying, “it is a cult”. As to the comments not being measured, in fact they are thoroughly documented. But here I can only speak for myself.
Brucekinabrew wrote:
The girls are honored by the men in ways they never have experienced and the men are taught to honor the girls in ways they will never forget... I will discuss here as well. Take your best shot. Make it informed and you will do better.
It has been informed, apparently you are choosing to ignore all of the points and their documentation. As to the experience of being respected, people get that in many places, that does not validate an organization or the rest of its practices and it certainly doesn’t indicate a single thing about doctrinal orthodoxy.

But I will tell you, Bruce, I am not unfamiliar with people protesting the existence of any rebuttal or argument that contains the slightest objection to something they hold dear. I encounter it often. Instead of addressing the merits of someone's objections they posture with complaints about the very existence of objections and then questions motives or simply become indiscriminate and state the objections have no merit when they even willing to even deal with the objections and point out any place they believe they are invalid. Believe me you aren't the first, I encounter this regularly.

I am interested, though, in your responses to Aaron's questions.

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The essence

Alex, if you have so much info about Ellerslie, why don't you briefly answer these questions and tell us where the answers are documented?

Aaron wrote:

1) Unbibical doctrine
2) Unbiblical practice... usually of a particular sort. There are various and sundry "marks" of a cult that have to do with authoritarianism, a very closed community, indoctrination by means of physical rigor/"brainwashing," etc.

This is really all we need. You're posting a lot of generalities but they don't help third parties who like to get to facts and evaluate them carefully.

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Aaron Blumer wrote: Alex, if

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Alex, if you have so much info about Ellerslie, why don't you briefly answer these questions and tell us where the answers are documented?
Aaron, as was discussed before and a second time and now a third, until you are willing to take the time to read the comprehensive posts that provide links for all of my sources (including the most recent one) you are only going to remain frustrated in the matter. I have posted links and have as well cut and pasted some material to make it readily available in those arguments from months ago.

However, let's say you simply want to excuse yourself from having to read my arguments for whatever reason. Repeatedly the link to Ellerslie has been posted, never minding the link to the sources I used so it is not "me" that has so much information about Ellerslie, it is right there at Ellerslie for you to discover yourself.

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Persuasive

Fair enough. But if you want to be persuasive to the 99.9% who do not want to wade through all that, you could summarize.
False doctrine A... link
False doctrine B... link
False doctrine C... link

The brief but factual summary is a powerful tool of persuasion. I don't personally care about Ellerslie one way or the other. Never heard of them before. But I remain unconvinced that they are a cult because I have not seen the facts that would support that conclusion. And I did peruse their website.

(The vast majority of real cults deny the deity of Christ and assert a works-system in order to gain heaven--or whatever their version of the desirable afterlife is--then throw in a secretive authoritarian methodology. But the latter by itself does not a cult make.)

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Personality

I also think of personality driven or "We have THE secret" groups as having a cult-ish nature. IOW, 'if you don't do it our way, your spirituality won't be as real or strong as what ours is'. Or when loyalty to a certain person and their teachings is presented in a way that you feel it's as important as loyalty to Christ and Scripture. They may not be immersed in false doctrine, but they are in the same neighborhood.

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Curiosity

OK, I got curious... did some more poking around. Here's the doctrinal statement.

Quote:
Our Statement of Faith

  • We believe the Bible is the inspired and infallible and authoritative Word of God. (II Timothy 3:15 -16)
  • We believe there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. (Deut. 6:4; Matthew 29:19; Mark 12:29; John 5:17-30)
  • We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal future return to the earth in power and glory to rule over the nations. (Isaiah 7:14; Hebrews 7:26; Acts 2:22; I Corinthians 15:3; Acts 1:9-11)
  • We believe man was created good and upright, but fell from that place of perfection into a condition of spiritual depravity. (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:17; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 5:12-19)
  • We believe the only means of our being cleansed from sin is through repentance and through faith in the precious blood of Christ. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for personal salvation. (Luke 24:47; Romans 8:16; 10:13-15; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7)
  • We believe the Scriptures teach a life of holiness. Sanctification is a separation from that which is evil and a dedication unto God. We believe all believers should earnestly pursue sanctification by walking in obedience to God's Word. We further believe that the Christian is able to live a godly life by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 12:14; I Peter 1:15-16; Philippians 2:12-13)
  • While we do believe that the gifts of the Spirit are in operation today, we believe that the main evidence of a fuller in-filling of the Holy Spirit is the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in a believer's life (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • We believe that Christ's death on the cross provides healing for the human body, in answer to believing prayer, if and when it is in the sovereign will of God for that person. (Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:16,17; James 5:14-16)
  • We believe in the second coming of Christ with His saints to rule and reign on the earth for a thousand years. (Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:27, 30; Revelation 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8)

Two things concern me here...

1. The statement on salvation is weak. It speaks of "cleansing" through repentance and faith and says regeneration is necessary, but it does not say that regeneration comes through faith alone or refer to justification.
Compare SI's own more brief yet more theologically comprehensive statement:

Quote:
Salvation, the effect of regeneration by the Spirit and the Word, not by works, but by grace through faith.

I would be more confident of Ellerslie if I could see an emphasis on grace alone through faith alone at the website.

2. Views on the Holy Spirit. There seems to be a Keswick view of sanctification in the reference to "fully in-filling of the Holy Spirit" as well as the emphasis on Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichael elsewhere on the site. I would not be surprised to find many "second blessing" ideas in their doctrine of the Spirit.

But believing in Keswick-esque sanctification/second blessing holiness is not a heresy (though I do believe it be a non-trivial error). The ambiguity in the salvation statement is of far greater concern.

Still, by looking at their doctrines, I'd have to say that if Ellerslie is a cult it's the first in history to get so close to orthodoxy. No others have even gotten in the ballpark. The third bullet point (on Christ) all by itself makes the cult charge a very tough sell!

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More doctrine

There is more further down the page.... an expanded doctrinal statement.
Here's the expansion on "the gospel."

Quote:
1)The Sentence of Death Removed

Man is imprisoned in his sin – unable to escape the control of sin, the earthly effects of sin, and the eternal penalty of sin. However, the Good News of God is that the triumvirate of sin’s effect has been canceled through the work of the Messiah, Jesus Christ – the wrath of God has been absorbed by the stricken Son of God – divine justice has been served, sin has been condemned in the flesh. Thusly, the guilty rebels of earth (you and me), if we would only accept this act of divine intervention with faith, have the privilege of legal justification before the bar of Heaven. We can be forgiven of our rebellion, self-will, and lifelong resistance to His rule and reign. Such justification and forgiveness, when accepted through faith, creates a way into the very Presence and Eternal Life of God. The guilty conscience of man can be swept clean and filled with unspeakable joy, and the condemnation of Hell that hangs justly over the souls of every human can be wholly removed and replaced with hope of life ever after with God.

Pretty sound, though they seem to have a fondness for novel language, which can get you into trouble. The church has developed certain patterns in articulating the faith for a reason: in answering the various attacks on the faith over the millennia.

I suppose the "is it a cult?" question is ultimately not helpful because it all comes down to your idea of what a cult is. Might be better to be more precise. What is doctrinally good, doctrinally cause for concern? What is good or questionable in methodology and emphasis? But as far as terminology and labeling goes, does the group deserve to be lumped in with the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism and the Moonies? I think not!

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Aaron Blumer wrote: Fair

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Fair enough. But if you want to be persuasive to the 99.9% who do not want to wade through all that, you could summarize.
False doctrine A... link
False doctrine B... link
False doctrine C... link
I don't know what 99.9% that it is to which you are referring seeing that everyone that has approached me here with the exception of yourself has read through my posts and responded.

As to the view of the use of cult principles, I did not necessarily point to, in an exclusive manner nor do I view it as an a sole criterion, the stated doctrinal beliefs of a group to establish whether or not they are employing a few or many cult principles. There are bodies within Christianity that will present a statement of beliefs that articulate orthodox doctrine but use some principles of cults in their administration. And here I believe one example of that is what was pointed to in a post above concerning personality and elevated views of their organization with the rest of Christianity. And to example that, Ludy has stated that he believes the:

http://www.harvesthousepublishers.com/books_nonfictioninterview.cfm?id=73

Quote:
The church as we once knew it, the one founded solely on the Word of God, is almost extinct

Now I will tell you that when he stated this he was also comparing it to the rise of the Emergent church but regardless, his view still is that the church founded solely on the Word of God is almost extinct. His wholesale categorization is too conveniently at the service of his own endeavors. Such exaggerations, which consequent elevately one's position to such a premium, historically leads to an eventual greater isolation and rejection of valid Christian experiences and expression, hence the formation of a very exclusive group. Let me be clear, again, I have not said this is a cult, only that I have identified some such principles. If someone can find a quote and cite its location so I may view it where I stated explicitly that it is a cult I will retract it and apologize. But my view that I identify cult principles remains.

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Terminology Difficulty

Aaron, I think you're defining the word "cult" in a doctrinal sense as a heterodox spin-off from Christianity. Alex is using a sociological definition which does not discriminate by doctrine but by organization and attitude. So, I think you've missed the point of what he's saying. It's a place organized by a charismatic leader that draws in impressionable young people by promising them a fast-track to serving Jesus. While there, they are subjected to a tightly-regimented lifestyle including high-intensity spiritual exercises. They are isolated from external contact and told that submission to authority is an integral part of their training. I think that a non-Christian (neutral) sociologist taking a look at Ellerslie would raise a few eyebrows. The theologian in me sees red flags everywhere. The "Why Ellerslie" page reeks of gnosticism (used loosely).

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Problems

Oh yeah, there are problems. No doubt about that. Whole thing looks Gothardish to me. (And I do have a cynical side that giving me all kinds of "too good to be true" signals when reading some of the documents at the site. My cynic-signals are often nothing more than cynicism, though.)

I would not accept the "neutrality" of a non-Christian sociologist, but I do think I see your point, Charlie. The sociological definition of cult is just not one that's important to me from a biblical standpoint. I probably attended a couple of churches growing up they would consider cults... and got "brainwashed."

Sounds increasingly to me like my only hangup is use of the word "cult" or "cult-like," and, given the elasticity of the definition, I no longer think I can begrudge anyone their use of these terms. I just prefer to use them more more narrowly and describe the various problems more specifically. To each his own I guess.

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Ask Away

Hi, my name is Josh, and I'm an Ellerslie Student right now. I'm sitting on campus as I'm writing this to you. On http://ellersliestudents.com/Students_Summer_2010.html i'm the 13th one down.

You all are arguing about something you know nothing about. Why not ask someone who actually knows?

Here are a few prerequisites:
1. Your answer must not attack a person, rather, let it attack a theology.
2. When you attack something, provide Bible verses to support your point of view. My mind is very much open from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21

So, ask away! Heres your chance to ask someone who is actually going through the training right now.

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@ josh

Here are some areas in which I believe you are mischaracterizing this thread-

1) No one is arguing- do not mistake a discussion with differing points of view as an argument.
2) Several posts reference concerns published on the Ellerslie website. Please read the thread and address those first.
3) No one has 'attacked' anyone either.
4) It is inaccurate to say the people 'know nothing' about Ellerslie or its leadership- you have no way of ascertaining who knows what and to what degree.

Thanks. Answer away!

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Clarification and Definition

Susan -

1. You and I must define argument differently. There have been heated discussions above. I define that as an argument rather than a simple discussion. I'm not going to discuss anymore on this point, just know that I have a different definition of argument than you.

2. I'm not going to address those. If anyone wants me to address those they will bring them up with the appropriate Bible verse that they contradict. Like I said, I'm not going to discuss things that aren't backed by the Bible. If you wish to bring them up with the appropriate BIble verse they contradict, go right ahead!

3. I'm preventing it. Thats the only reason I brought it up.

4. I disagree. Is there anyone in this thread who has personally spent 10 weeks with Eric Ludy and his staff? If not, then they must remain silent and let those who have spent that amount of time with them (i.e. me) speak with authority. . This is the first class of Ellerslie. No one on this thread knows more than I do about this first class at Ellerslie, and Ellerslie in general. Anyone who does, please speak. Otherwise, I will assume that I have authority on this matter.

Lets get down to the questions! I'm eager to see how Ellerslie differs from the Bible in any way.

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Hmmm

Quote:
4. I disagree. Is there anyone in this thread who has personally spent 10 weeks with Eric Ludy and his staff? If not, then they must remain silent and let those who have spent that amount of time with them (i.e. me) speak with authority. . This is the first class of Ellerslie. No one on this thread knows more than I do about this first class at Ellerslie, and Ellerslie in general. Anyone who does, please speak. Otherwise, I will assume that I have authority on this matter.

So either we spend 10 weeks there or we know "nothing"? Surely there is something between "ten weeks" and "zero."

On to verse-backed questions.
Ephesians 2:8-9 ... why doesn't the doctrinal statement on salvation emphasize "by grace through faith alone"?
Romans 5:1... why doesn't it say we are "justified by faith"?

The longer statement seems to cover this but why not put it in the short one?

As for doctrine of the Holy Spirit and lots of the other stuff... I don't think "question-verse" format is going to work. These are complex doctrines developed by looking at multiple passages and drawing inferences, etc. (There are very few doctrines that can be rightly understood from one verse)

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Double Hmmm

Aaron Blumer ][quote wrote:

So either we spend 10 weeks there or we know "nothing"? Surely there is something between "ten weeks" and "zero."

First, I didn't say "Nothing" in that paragraph you quoted, so i'm confused why you put it in quotation marks. I said no one on this thread knows more than I do about Ellerslie. Did I say you knew nothing about it?

Do you care to expand on how long you have personally known Eric Ludy? Do you think that because you have listened to 20 sermons by him that you "know" him? We can all make statements about Barak Obama and his political beliefs, but do you think someone who is very close to him has more authority on the subject than someone who hardly knows him from the outside?

1. I cant seem to find any part negating the fact that we are saved by grace alone... care to point out a specific spot? If we just have to have faith to be saved, you must believe that once we have faith we are saved and sealed for time and eternity, right? I'm not saying we have to work for our salvation. But, read James 2:15-26. "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?" Heres a story for you that you will have heard in Eric's messages.

--

You are in prison. You have this sign that says "condemned to hell" above your cell. You are in Satan's dungeon. Satan comes every day to beat you to a bloody pulp and you accept it because you feel condemned, but this day is different, this man steps in front of Satan's beatings for today and dies in your place. Something supernatural happens. Your prison cell is unlocked, all you have to do is push it open. If you end up pushing it open, you walk outside and meet a messenger from the King in a golden chariot. You have a summons from the King to enter His throne room. The King wants you to go back to the dungeon you came from and tell people that all they have to do to be free is push their cell open. You, out of your exceeding gratitude for your life being spared, happily oblige. You know that the King has every right to do whatever He wants to you, after all, you were scum sitting in a prison cell. He owns you, because His son took the beating for you. He bought you with no small price.

--

It is by our exceeding gratitude to our Heavenly Father that we consider it a privilege to do works. Its not by works alone that saves us, nor is it by faith alone. Can you show me the Bible verse that you directly quoted by saying "by grace through faith alone"? Cause I cant find one.

2. I don't know why Eric didn't put it in the longer one. Why not ask him?

If the question verse format is not going to work for you then why argue on opinion? Why are you arguing things that you dont have solid grounding in the Bible to explain?

Aaron, do you mind clarifying which translation you use so I can better understand where you come from? I use KJV and ESV.

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JoshK wrote: You all are

JoshK wrote:
You all are arguing about something you know nothing about.
It's up http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-ever-heard-of-ellerslie#comment-16510 ]here

Quote:
do you think someone who is very close to him has more authority on the subject than someone who hardly knows him from the outside?
On what subject? On what he believes and teaches? His own statements are a sufficient source of knowledge for that subject.

Quote:
I cant seem to find any part negating the fact that we are saved by grace alone.
Me either. Didn't say that.

Quote:
Satan comes every day to beat you to a bloody pulp and you accept it because you feel condemned, but this day is different, this man steps in front of Satan's beatings for today and dies in your place. Something supernatural happens...
There is a problem with this story. The wrath Jesus took for us and the price He paid was not Satan's wrath or Satan's price. It was the holy wrath of the Father. Rom. 2:5, 3:5-6, 5:9, 9:22-23.

But nobody here is questioning that a life of obedience follows justification by faith... which seems to be the point of the story.

Quote:
Its not by works alone that saves us, nor is it by faith alone. Can you show me the Bible verse that you directly quoted by saying "by grace through faith alone"? Cause I cant find one.

Direct quoting is not necessary. What the Scriptures teach is the point. This is what they teach:

  • Eph. 2:8-9 ... "not of works"
  • Titus 3:5.... "not by works of righteousness which we have done"
  • John 6:29... "this is the work of God that you believe"
  • Php 3:9-10 "not having my own righteousness which is from the law"
  • Rom. 4:5 "to him who does not work but believes"

Do they really teach at Ellerslie that we are saved through faith and works?

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Proper Discussion an Example

I have never been a member of the United States Marine Corps. But, I have known enough Marines and former Marines and have read enough information about the Corps to carry on an intelligent conversation about the organization. The same can be said about various contributors to this thread. Many here have taken the time to read and evaluate the public statements made by this organization and its leadership. They may have misinterpreted or misperceived some points. That's where someone who has personal knowledge of the organization and its leadership is helpful. Otherwise, to say unless you go through the 10 weeks of training you have no standing to discuss the organization, is the sam as saying unless you've gone through Marine Boot Camp, you have no standing to discuss the Corps.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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Burning straw men

Quote:
On what subject? On what he believes and teaches? His own statements are a sufficient source of knowledge for that subject.

His primary authority is the Bible. So, in order to prove him wrong you must somehow prove the Bible is wrong. Quote from Ellerslie's statement of belief:

Quote:
We believe the Bible is the inspired and infallible and authoritative Word of God.

--

Quote:
Me either. Didn't say that.

Good, then his views seem to not contradict yours.

Quote:
There is a problem with this story.

Yep.

Its cause you didn't understand it right. Let me ask you a few questions. Are we condemned to death without Christ? When we sin, are we accepting the fact that we're human? Why do we sin? If we are without Christ, does that mean satan has a hold on our life? What does satan do with us when he is seated on the throne of our life? Jesus took the condemnation away. Romans 8:1

Quote:
But nobody here is questioning that a life of obedience follows justification by faith

Good. Thats all i'm saying.

Quote:
Direct quoting is not necessary.

Uh, yah it is. You made the quote, you back it up, or take it back. Revelation 22:18

You didn't refute my James 2 reference. And you never answered where you got that ridiculous quote "by grace through faith alone."

Aaron, Please read my posts fully next time, not just take out bits and pieces to build a straw man.

I said

Quote:
I'm not saying we have to work for our salvation.

You did not read that apparently, because you would not be asking the question that Ellerslie believes we are saved through faith and works. Read.

Also, again I ask, what translation are you using, Aaron?

--

Rob

I could accept that. I was merely saying "don't knock it till you've tried it."
Neither of you are at Ellerslie right now, because if you were, you would be right down the hall from me right now and we would be having this discussion in person. Would you say you know everything about the Marines? If not, would you tell everyone that you did? Would people, knowing you aren't a Marine, believe you as an authority on the subject?

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joshk wrote: And you never

joshk wrote:
And you never answered where you got that ridiculous quote "by grace through faith alone."
I'll answer for Aaron on where he got that ridiculous quote. Ephesians 2:8. It is also one of the major distinguishing characteristics of any true Protestant church which finds it's roots in Martin Luther's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_fide ]Sola Fide .

joshk wrote:
Would you say you know everything about the Marines? If not, would you tell everyone that you did? Would people, knowing you aren't a Marine, believe you as an authority on the subject?
If I knew a lot about the Marines, yes, they would consider me an authority. And they would consider Rob an authority, as well, if he knew a lot. In the same way as certain people are authorities on different people throughout history.

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Sorry Daniel, I dont see

Sorry Daniel, I dont see Ephesians 2:8 saying "by grace through faith alone." It says "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God," -- not "by grace through faith alone." as Aaron put in a previous post, like that quote was directly out of the Bible. I'm nitpicking, but its huge when you add words to the Bible. I dont want anyone to start a habit of that. This is almost the same as Jehovah's witnesses adding "a" to John 1:1. At the very most it is inferred. Again, I'm saying a life of obedience follows for a true follower of Christ, which I think you all are also saying. "Thus you will recognize them by their fruits" - Matt 7:20.

Would you say I am inclined to have more knowledge about Ellerslie than someone on this thread because I am attending it? Or do you think that you have more knowledge on this subject because you are on the outside? If you think you have more knowledge about Ellerslie, thats fine. I believe you are dreadfully mistaken, but I wont argue this point anymore if you believe that. We can move on to other questions. I still havent seen one Ellerslie believes that contradicts the Bible.

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joshk wrote: Sorry Daniel, I

joshk wrote:
Sorry Daniel, I dont see Ephesians 2:8 saying "by grace through faith alone." It says "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God," -- not "by grace through faith alone." as Aaron put in a previous post, like that quote was directly out of the Bible. I'm nitpicking, but its huge when you add words to the Bible. I dont want anyone to start a habit of that. This is almost the same as Jehovah's witnesses adding "a" to John 1:1. At the very most it is inferred. Again, I'm saying a life of obedience follows for a true follower of Christ, which I think you all are also saying. "Thus you will recognize them by their fruits" - Matt 7:20

Seriously! Do you seriously not believe in sola fide? (by grace through faith alone) I'll admit that the exact word 'alone' is not in Ephesians 2:8, but what does it mean when it says it is a gift and that it is not through works? But, if you don't like that, just so you know, this has been and will continue to be a founding block of Christianity. You might want to actually talk to Eric and ask him if he thinks we are saved by grace through faith alone.

And if you get hung up because it says, 'you have been saved' in between 'grace' and 'through', let me reword it from the original languages for you, 'for you have been saved by grace through faith...'

And just to be clear, are you saying this is what you believe or what Eric and Ellerslie teaches?

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Once again, i'll say for the

Once again, i'll say for the third time (at least.) both Ellerslie and I don't believe you are saved by works. There are only 2 options I see. Correct me if I'm wrong. Theres only a choice of salvation by faith and salvation by works. It sounds like you're reading what you want to read. When I said "At the very most it is inferred" I meant the word "alone."

My big problem was Aaron was quoting the Bible (which is good) but he added a word. I wont stand for that.

Oh, and by the way, I have asked Eric about that. Thanks.

I'm regurgitating what I've learned here at Ellerslie on this forum. I'm not Eric Ludy, obviously, but I'm a student directly under him.

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So, what does it mean when it

So, what does it mean when it says it is a gift not of works? Does Paul teach that we can receive this grace through any other means than through faith? (and i'm not asking what Eric believes, but what you believe Paul said)

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JoshK wrote: His primary

JoshK wrote:
His primary authority is the Bible. So, in order to prove him wrong you must somehow prove the Bible is wrong.
So, there is no possibility that his understanding of the Bible is incorrect? This statement sounds very cultish!

After reading your posts JoshK, it is apparent that one thing Ellerslie doesn't teach is humility. Your arrogance, for someone who I suspect is very young, is not impressing me with what you are allegedly learning at Ellerslie.

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Straight answer, please

Josh, just need a straight answer. Sometimes you're saying there are only two possibilities: either saved by faith or saved by works. But when we say "faith alone" you recoil. So if it is not faith + works and is not faith alone... is faith plus something else?

As for Ephesians 2:8-9, "alone" is a classic case of necessary inference. Since it says "by grace are you saved through faith" and later says "not of works" the necessary inference is "faith alone" (unless you've got a third thing to add to faith that is neither faith nor works).
I never said the word "alone" was in the verse. I indicated that the verse taught by grace through faith alone, which it does... along with half a dozen others I listed later.

So do you and Ellerslie believe in salvation by grace through faith alone or not?

Also, I'd like to hear a direct answer to whether it is possible for Eric Ludy to make errors in interpreting Scripture.

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I'm regurgitating what I've

joshk wrote:
I'm regurgitating what I've learned here at Ellerslie
An apt description indeed.
joshk wrote:
I'm not Eric Ludy, obviously, but I'm a student directly under him.
Seeing you are posting as joshk, one already assumed you are not Eric Ludy. But it is interesting that you took the time to make sure you declared this so, seeing that it is already clear you are joshk and if you were Eric Ludy you would come right out and say so, right?

In the end, joshk, I do not believe you are even doing Eric Ludy and Ellerslie justification with the style or content of your arguments. And all of your demonstrations do not erase the already extreme statements by Ludy and Gallagher or the factional construct of Ellerslie.

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My own take

My own view about Ellerslie: (I read the doctrinal statement, looked the site over, checked out the student handbook, etc)

  • It's a "deeper life" kind of movement (search around the site and you will actually see the phrase "deeper life")
  • The doctrinal statement does not read like a typical doctrinal statement that one is used to. But (without doing deep analysis) looks evangelical
  • I think Alex's comments about it being a cult are completely off the mark. The Christology is orthodox.
  • The student handbook is pretty reasonable. Nothing that weird or restrictive there
  • Reminds me of when (upon college graduation back in '71) went off to Campus Crusade for Christ HQ (then at Arrowhead Springs CA) for the summer. We had Bible training, devotions, beach evangelism, living in dorm rooms, etc.

To JoshK. Have a profitable time there!

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Jim Peet wrote: [*]I think

Jim Peet wrote:

  • I think Alex's comments about it being a cult are completely off the mark.
  • Alex never made this comment, please correct this. I have never posted that it is a cult. Now, if I have please show me where and I will accept this as a correction regarding my view about what I have posted, otherwise I certainly would appreciate having my comments properly represented.
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    Concerns

    What concerns me are statements like this-

    Quote:
    His primary authority is the Bible. So, in order to prove him wrong you must somehow prove the Bible is wrong. Quote from Ellerslie's statement of belief:

    The obvious adoration/reverence directed at an individual in leadership whom we are supposed to assume cannot be questioned in any way reminds me of the way some HAC graduates revere Jack Hyles. Ick.

    Whether or not Eric Ludy encourages this view of himself we do not know. But I think he'd be well-advised to actively discourage any hero worship.

    I also think it's a good question to ask if prolonged isolation/sequestering really is necessary or preferential for study and spiritual growth. It's a model that other groups use as well, so it isn't as if Ellerslie is the only place that does this.

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    Alex Guggenheim wrote: Jim

    Alex Guggenheim wrote:
    Jim Peet wrote:

  • I think Alex's comments about it being a cult are completely off the mark.
  • Alex never made this comment, please correct this. I have never posted that it is a cult. Now, if I have please show me where and I will accept this as a correction regarding my view about what I have posted, otherwise I certainly would appreciate having my comments properly represented.

    Perhaps I misunderstood you and if I did, I apologize.

    Up on comment # 4: "From their application form here is their code of honor, or behavioral requirements for attendees. Tell me what you see...I'll tell you what I see, CULT principles scattered throughout (bold and italics mine):"

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    Your quote is clearly

    Your quote is clearly accurate. I observed the some cult principles but stopped short of calling it a cult. No harm no foul. Thanks.

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    @Alex

    In my own view you were harsh on Josh when he said

    Quote:
    I'm regurgitating what I've learned here at Ellerslie

    And you responded

    Quote:
    An apt description indeed.

    Give "the kid" (I'm 61 so anyone under the age of 41 is a "kid" to me!) a break!

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    Late to the party

    Alex Guggenheim wrote:
    From the website:

    Quote:
    #1 Ellerslie Summer Training - Ellerslie Campus - Windsor, Colorado - June 2nd, 2010 - August 15th, 2010

    The first schooling phase (just mentioned) is the stateside classroom program lasting ten weeks. This is the mandatory starting point for all students interested in moving forward with an education at Ellerslie, and thusly a prerequisite to both the Ellerslie Haiti School and the Ellerslie Bible School. The tuition cost for this phase is $4,950, which will cover all schooling, food, and lodging costs (books and materials will be an additional cost).

    #2 Ellerslie Haiti School - (optional) Ouanaminthe, Haiti - August 20th, 2010 - September 20th, 2010

    The second phase is optional, but by no means lesser - it includes a trip to Ouanaminthe, Haiti to live, study, and demonstrate Christ amongst the destitute, the poor, and the orphaned. The cost for this portion of the program is heavily based on plane ticket expense. Based on current airline prices, this portion of the program will run between $1,200 and $1,500 (and will include all travel, schooling, food, and lodging expenses).

    I couldn't stop laughing...in fact I am still laughing, this would bring sad tears to my eyes were I not crying with laughter at the absurdity of this. Maybe the tears of sadness will set in shortly.

    Ah yes, spiritual advancement for THOSE who can afford it. Old gimmick, new wrapping paper.


    Alex, I'm a little late to the party, but I think that this comment (in bold - It's #3) was too much. Would you say the same thing of the CIT program at the Wilds, or RA's at any Christian College/University who are fortunate enough to graduate with an MA in exchange for working for that institution? I was fortunate to have these privileges (for which I thank God), but my blessings came at another applicant's expense. Some of those applicants would probably have learned and gotten more from it than I did, but I was fortunate enough to be chosen for both of those opportunities.

    Quote:
    God's design is superior in every way. He has given the gift of the office of Pastor-teacher for the church today. He then gives the appropriate gifting to certain men to fulfill this office. Such men, of true faith, are equipped by God himself to study and teach local congregations and at times those in distant places through varying means of communication.

    And in God's design, all those positive to the Word of God have equal access.


    And who teaches the teachers? Don't those who want to be Pastors typically go through special, intensive training (either in a mentoring relationship or through some kind of schooling, either undergrad or graduate?) Americans are generally fortunate enough that they can work hard to afford the kinds of privileges that the United States can offer. If someone's parents decide that this is going to be good for their kids, and they can afford it, then what's the big deal? Or do you really want to start telling people how to raise their kids and how to train their pastors?

    "Our task today is to tell people — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells
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    I believe I was giving him

    I believe I was giving him just the break he needed. Smile

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    Daniel - This gets into

    Daniel - This gets into different theologies (which by the way we are discouraged to talk about during Ellerslie, specifically because this is a time to cultivate our own theology according to the Bible, and not base it on what another student says.) that many have discussed over the ages. To answer your question directly, Paul does not talk about any other way to have salvation except through grace. But there is so much more to this than meets the eye. Its not just a saving by grace and you keep on sinning (Romans 6:1-2) Its a continual purification process. Once one is saved they begin to drink spiritual milk (1 Corinthians 3) so, once one is saved, that person is expected to progress in his/her faith. If not, I dont believe they are saved. You asked what I believed, not what Ellerslie believed, so theres my opinion. John 14:5-17.

    JohnBrian - care to define cult using the Bible? I noticed you had not one Bible verse in your post. I asked for Bible verses. Ask questions using the Bible as your backup, not what you think of me.

    Aaron - see my above answer for Daniel. To your other question, yes it is possible for Eric to have a bad interpretation of scripture. Since he hasn't thus far, I have no reason to doubt his interpretations in the future, though I still test them using the Bible. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21.

    Alex - Thanks. Much love to you too, man. Use a Bible verse next time. Then you will have authority behind your posts rather than just sound like a 1 Corinthians 13:1b "a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." Blum 3 I know thats out of context and a bad use of the verse, so disregard that as a use of my theology.

    Jim - Thanks so much! your encouragement (and defense) means a ton! Know that I am cheering you on towards the throne!

    Susan - Eric says he is not the primary interpreter of the Bible, and he understands that people have different views, but his theology is not off-kilter or unbiblical. see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21.

    --

    Also, Ellerslie just put out a new video that I had a major hand in producing (though I am uncredited. :P) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWEgt729Uvw

    Have a look!

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    I had no idea this thread was

    I had no idea this thread was out here until today - took a while to read through all the comments thus far but I think I have a good grasp of who's saying what here. So I'll dive in. Smile

    joshk wrote:
    This gets into different theologies (which by the way we are discouraged to talk about during Ellerslie, specifically because this is a time to cultivate our own theology according to the Bible, and not base it on what another student says.) that many have discussed over the ages.

    Some of the seeds of what I'm learning now (five years out of college) in my own personal growth were planted during rather heated discussions of theology over lunch and dinner with my fellow Bible majors. Some of what I'm learning right now I could have learned then and saved myself five years of wandering in a theological wasteland. I'm just thinking out loud here - you are encouraged to "cultivate [your ] own theology according to the Bible" (which, BTW, I believe is a GREAT thing; it was very late in my college experience that I was encouraged to do the same) yet you are discouraged (not banned, I assume?) from running the fruits of your study by other students. How then do you know whether your theology is on point? With whom do you discuss your findings? I assume with your teachers or possibly Eric himself. In cases where you come to a different conclusion than that of your mentors, how do they respond to your interpretation?

    As far as the discussion on the definition of "cult" goes, Charlie summed it up quite nicely http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-ever-heard-of-ellerslie#comment-16349 ]here . Webster's has a number of definitions, and in this discussion I think two are important:

    1.) " a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents"
    2.) "a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : the object of such devotion c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion"

    So when I say "cult," I'm not referring to the orthodoxy or unorthodoxy of a doctrinal statement (according to the first definition above); I'm referring to numerous practices and principles that square with a lot of other practices and principles commonly identified with a cult (according to the second definition above). One or two common practices do not a cult make, and so far I don't believe anyone has come out and said Ellerslie is a cult, just that it shares some practices and principles with cultish organizations.

    joshk wrote:
    yes it is possible for Eric to have a bad interpretation of scripture. Since he hasn't thus far, I have no reason to doubt his interpretations in the future, though I still test them using the Bible.

    With respect, this rings hollow to me, despite the assurance that everything would be tested according to the Bible in the future. Two things I see here:

    1. "Since he hasn't thus far" - that's a pretty absolute statement to make about someone older than you. How can you be sure all his interpretations have always been true? Since this was an unqualified statement, I have no choice but to assume that you believe he has never made an interpretational error.
    2. "I have no reasons to doubt his interpretations in the future" - this is simply naive. To infer that no mistakes have been made in the past and to opine that likely no mistakes will be made in the future, you are one step away from saying that his interpretations are timeless and infallible. I'm not saying you're there, just that the way you represent your thoughts on the matter puts you awfully close. I would encourage you to be more precise if this is not what you believe.

      If one truly believes someone's interpretations are beyond reproach, how impartial would he really be when he compares his interpretations to the Bible? How impartial *can* he be, really, if he goes into the searching bit thinking that his interpretation isn't wrong in the first place? There's a huge difference between "Huh, that's interesting. I wonder if that squares with Scripture?" and "He's probably right but I'll look it up just to be sure."

      joshk wrote:
      Alex - Thanks. Much love to you too, man. Use a Bible verse next time. Then you will have authority behind your posts rather than just sound like a 1 Corinthians 13:1b "a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal." Blum 3 I know thats out of context and a bad use of the verse, so disregard that as a use of my theology.

      For chastising Aaron so soundly up above for mixing one word from a 400-year-old creed with a Bible verse, I'm a little surprised you would so casually use the very Word of God as a personal attack, never mind admitting to it up front. If you truly respect the Bible that much, please be consistent about it. Contrary to your advise to "disregard that" when considering your theology, it is in fact very telling about your approach to Scripture.

      So taking you up on your invitation, my question, then, is this: to what degree are students at Ellerslie allowed to disagree on doctrinal matters with the faculty and administration? If a student comes to a conclusion and can support it without mis-interpreting Scripture, and that conclusion is different to that held by the faculty and administration, how is it handled?

    Susan R's picture
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    High intensity

    Charlie wrote:
    It's a place organized by a charismatic leader that draws in impressionable young people by promising them a fast-track to serving Jesus. While there, they are subjected to a tightly-regimented lifestyle including high-intensity spiritual exercises. They are isolated from external contact and told that submission to authority is an integral part of their training. I think that a non-Christian (neutral) sociologist taking a look at Ellerslie would raise a few eyebrows. The theologian in me sees red flags everywhere. The "Why Ellerslie" page reeks of gnosticism (used loosely).

    That's the element that raises the most concern for me. I listened to the video that joshk linked to, and there are descriptors such as 'Ellerslie is the place where plowshares are beaten into swords', where you come to be 'set apart' because 'in this culture it is nearly impossible', that it is 'the Keswick convention of this day'... that God is working out the kind of faith seen in Hebrews 11 at Ellerslie, where the 'flesh is bulldozed', 'put to death', 'self is eradicated'... Ellerslie is a place where you 'come to die'.

    It's fine and dandy to teach the necessity of the death of the flesh, and I have very few issues with the doctrinal content I've seen/read so far (but you have to swim through alot of hyperbole to extract it)- pretty much all my concerns have to do with the methods and model. Our flesh needs to die daily. Intense training for a season is not going to be a magic pill. When a young person leaves Ellerslie, they are going to have to continue the principles they've learned in this isolated and intense environment out in society, surrounded by modern culture.

    One of the videos describes Ellerslie as being "Jane Austen meets Lord of the Rings". There is MUCH grandiose language on every page of the site and spoken with breathless intensity in every video I've heard. If there's one thing they learn at Ellerslie, it is to be completely in love with adjectives and metaphors. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-confused002.gif[/img ] I can see the appeal to young people who want to take on the world and do something incredible for God- which is NOT a bad thing in an of itself.

    But what happens when they are faced with the mundane issues of life? When they have to get up every morning and punch in the time card, perhaps after a night spent with a puking baby, no time to take a shower and eat a decent breakfast, you fell asleep reading the Bible... where's all the "Here I come to save the day!" going to be? http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-merv/spidey.gif[/img ] Some people are going to feel like a failure because they haven't been out there rescuing the masses but have been simply taking care of their own family- which is one of the primary responsibilities of each and every Christian. If you don't have a spouse and/or children, you probably have a mother and father and elderly relatives to whom you are required to show piety before you go out there to do some 'world saving'.

    I'd just like to see more of a balanced perspective on life in this group's marketing materials.

    Aaron Blumer's picture
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    Interesting you mentioned that

    Quote:
    take on the world and do something incredible for God- which is NOT a bad thing in an of itself.

    Actually, I think it is a bad thing for most young people to think they will do something incredible. God's work has always mostly been done by plodders, large numbers of ordinary people using their talents in small but faithful ways, usually never being noticed by much of anybody. This is one gripe I have with the wrong sort of use of the missionary biography genre. It tends to fuel dreamy eyed idealism which, in many cases, ends in deep frustration and bitterness--because the expectations are way out of line.
    Think about the definition of hero. Meaningful use of the term refers to extraordinary acts in extraordinary circumstances... so we cannot all be "heroes." The grandest and loftiest thing anybody can be is simply obedient--even if that means spending your adult life driving truck, raising a godly family, and never "changing the world" in any measurable way.

    I'm not into idealism. I don't think it's good for adult, and teens especially need help growing out of it before life disasters strip them of it so painfully they end up disillusioned and walk away from the faith. So a wiser approach to training young people would be much less marketable: "Come to us to be trained for undramatic, unheralded, only-a-handful-of-people-changing, but faithful obedient and God-glorifying ministry."
    ... I can see why nobody tries to sell education this way. But we'd be telling kids the truth.

    Edit: my bad... should have read the rest of Susan's post... got stopped cold at "doing something incredible."
    Susan pretty much said the same thing in her own way. The glory of God is not better served by a few heroes than by hundreds of faithful moms and dads.

    Alex Guggenheim's picture
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    One comes to both die and be

    One comes to both die and be made alive at Jesus Christ, not Ellerslie. Christ is our death and resurrection. Christ is the hero, not you, not me and not anyone else. Even as his vessels we are still just that and he is still everything including the hero. This nonsense about saving the world and doing great things is just that, nonsense. Adding God's name to the end of one's declaration or vision does not make it God's signature. Christ is and does the great thing, he saves the world.

    Susan R's picture
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    Impulsive

    Aaron Blumer wrote:
    Quote:
    take on the world and do something incredible for God- which is NOT a bad thing in an of itself.

    Actually, I think it is a bad thing for most young people to think they will do something incredible. God's work has always mostly been done by plodders, large numbers of ordinary people using their talents in small but faithful ways, usually never being noticed by much of anybody. This is one gripe I have with the wrong sort of use of the missionary biography genre. It tends to fuel dreamy eyed idealism which, in many cases, ends in deep frustration and bitterness--because the expectations are way out of line.
    Think about the definition of hero. Meaningful use of the term refers to extraordinary acts in extraordinary circumstances... so we cannot all be "heroes." The grandest and loftiest thing anybody can be is simply obedient--even if that means spending your adult life driving truck, raising a godly family, and never "changing the world" in any measurable way.

    I'm not into idealism. I don't think it's good for adult, and teens especially need help growing out of it before life disasters strip them of it so painfully they end up disillusioned and walk away from the faith. So a wiser approach to training young people would be much less marketable: "Come to us to be trained for undramatic, unheralded, only-a-handful-of-people-changing, but faithful obedient and God-glorifying ministry."
    ... I can see why nobody tries to sell education this way. But we'd be telling kids the truth.

    Edit: my bad... should have read the rest of Susan's post... got stopped cold at "doing something incredible."
    Susan pretty much said the same thing in her own way. The glory of God is not better served by a few heroes than by hundreds of faithful moms and dads.


    HA! See what happens when you post impulsively? Into the Time Out Corner with you for 15 minutes! No cookies after dinner either!

    I want to say that I especially agree about the misuse of missionary biographies. You can come away feeling that you have no prayer life because you can't sit down at the dinner table and pray down a 5 course meal like George Mueller. God didn't call everyone to have George Mueller's ministry, or Adoniram Judson's, or Hudson Taylor's, or Amy Carmichael's, and their goal when they went out wasn't to become a Hero of the Faith. It's great to be inspired and excited (which was what I was thinking when I said what I did about "doing something incredible"), but I think when it comes to ministry we need a serious case of tunnel vision, keeping our eyes on what God would have for us to do- whether it involves being a Godly hard-workin' dad and faithful mom, or some kind of full-time ministry. Some of the bravest people I know are those whose names will never be known by anyone but their closest friends who are privy to their struggles and the victory they humbly experience through Christ. They may or may not be recognized and honored in this life, as are many we read in Scriptures and from biographies and journals, but what means the most to them (and should to us) is whether or not we are pleasing Christ.

    Someone else mentioned the many references to gender in Eric Ludy's messages and in the promotional videos. I understand the concern about how some things are stated, but at the core I think this is a reaction to our society's proclivity for blurring of gender lines, and I don't necessarily have a problem with that emphasis, as long as no one starts pounding the table or showing chest hair, or equating a 'macho' demeanor with Godliness.

    Rob Fall's picture
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    joshk wrote: SNIP Rob I could

    joshk wrote:
    SNIP
    Rob
    I could accept that. I was merely saying "don't knock it till you've tried it."
    Neither of you are at Ellerslie right now, because if you were, you would be right down the hall from me right now and we would be having this discussion in person. Would you say you know everything about the Marines? If not, would you tell everyone that you did? Would people, knowing you aren't a Marine, believe you as an authority on the subject?
    I know enough to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation on the Corps. And I'm ready to be corrected by those who know more about the topic.

    As my logic professor would have put it, your "don't knock it till you've tried it." is not the best argument. People have formed opinions based on public statements made by the organization. Our question for you is have we correctly read these statements or are we missing something.

    Hoping to shed more light than heat..

    Aaron Blumer's picture
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    Education

    Quote:
    God didn't call everyone to have George Mueller's ministry, or Adoniram Judson's, or Hudson Taylor's, or Amy Carmichael's, and their goal when they went out wasn't to become a Hero of the Faith.
    I think most of these folks also obtained very thorough educations, knew how to think clearly and were especially skilled in verbal communication skills like writing.

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    So...

    This is all well and good.... But....

    Does anyone have any more biblical-based questions that I can help answer on behalf of Elerslie? I tend to go off on rabbit trails pretty easily because of the way my mind works, so I've let you all take me on them. Lets actually get back down to the original reason I came here. I apologize for rabbit-trailing.

    Can we all agree that Ellerslie is biblically based? If so, can we agree that Eric Ludy is a solid Biblical teacher? If both of those we can agree on, can we agree that Ellerslie should be something you should support rather than tear it down based on something you read on a website?

    Understanding Ellerslie is almost like getting to know a person. I dont post my life online. I do not post every detail of my life online. Why is it that you can take the very shallow description on Ellerslie's site and assume that it is everything you need to know about Ellerslie? It almost sounds like a slippery slope argument.

    Why is there division on this subject? Does Ellerslie make you feel uncomfortable because of "rash" statements about the Christian life? (i.e. victory, heroism, decorum.) Tell me what exactly makes you uncomfortable about Ellerslie, and give specific examples out of the BIble. If the Bible is a premise we can agree on, its a good starting block. Everything gets awesome once we find a common premise.

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    that's pretty narrow

    So...according to http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-ever-heard-of-ellerslie#comment-16510 ]this we can only attack certain theological points, not just ask basic questions to help us understand the school better? You gotta admit, being able to ask someone with firsthand knowledge is a great opportunity, but it seems like a wasted opportunity to me if I can't simply ask a general knowledge type question.

    Chip Van Emmerik's picture
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    joshk wrote: Does anyone have

    joshk wrote:
    Does anyone have any more biblical-based questions that I can help answer on behalf of Elerslie?

    Can we all agree that Ellerslie is biblically based? If so, can we agree that Eric Ludy is a solid Biblical teacher? If both of those we can agree on, can we agree that Ellerslie should be something you should support rather than tear it down based on something you read on a website?

    No, we have not agreed to any of this. That has been the basis of this thread. Your participation has been disingenuous at best so far. You come in purporting to be an expert willing to help everyone better understand, but you refuse to answer the simplest questions. Instead, you spend your time attacking the very questions YOU invited. If you are not willing to provide the information requested, then you would better serve Ellerslie by simply staying out of the way than by continuing the strident disruption you have contributed to the discussion thus far.

    Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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