Ever Heard of Ellerslie?

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?

13835 reads
Daniel's picture

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

Charlie's picture

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: http://dearreaderblog.com

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

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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
Cool
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

Thanks, but I'll pass.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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:" rel="nofollow">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

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

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.

Anne Sokol's picture

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
Cool
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.

??

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

Charlie's picture

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: http://dearreaderblog.com

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

Anne Sokol's picture

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.

Wink

Rob Fall's picture

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

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

Wink

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.

Susan R's picture

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.

ChristyM's picture

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.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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)

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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?)

Susan R's picture

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.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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

Daniel's picture

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.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

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.

Rob Fall's picture

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

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Charlie's picture

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.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

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

Susan R's picture

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

Hilary's picture

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.

PStephens's picture

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.

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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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