By Emilie Foss Daily Universe Staff Reporter - 21 Jan 2005
Its important that other organizations understand each other, get a basic understanding and be willing to listen to each other, said Julie Ann Johnson, 23, a BYU linguistics major, from Denver, Colo.
Evangelists broadly define themselves as those in the Christian religion who strongly believe in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible.
This trip is based on talking about differences and more importantly getting to know what you believe, said Arnold Sergstad, 20, a student at Biola.
The Biola group has been traveling around Utah, attending different evangelical churches.
Before the group came to BYU, they helped sandbag in the St. George flood, took a tour of Temple Square, ate lunch with Elder Robert S. Wood of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and saw The Testaments movie at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
On Tuesday, the Biola group attended classes at BYU, such as LDS Marriage and Family and Book of Mormon. They also had the opportunity to hear President and Sister Samuelson speak in the Devotional. In the evening, they attended a dinner and discussion at a lodge in Aspen Grove.
After a history of contention and Bible bashing in the past, the Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints have decided to rebuild the bridges which had burned down.
Its time to put away the sticks and stones and do some serious talking, said Robert Millet, an ancient scripture professor.
The group had studied a bit about the LDS faith and read the Book of Mormon prior to coming to Utah.
There is only so much you can learn in books, said Stephanie Linn, 22, who graduated from Biola in music. We want to interact with LDS here and understand why they believe what they do.
Serigstad became interested in learning about the LDS faith while in high school after seeing many of his LDS friends treated poorly by the evangelical youth groups. He knew there had to be a better way of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ rather than Bible bashing.
The relationship between the two schools has not always been friendly.
We knew we had to change, said Jason Lekas, 24, a Biola humanities graduate. We were digging up potholes and not fixing the road, and then Utah had to deal with the backlash. We had to change our approach. We would like the LDS to know that we love them and seek to understand and pursue truth together.
Millet and Pastor Greg Johnson, director of Standing Together Ministries in Utah, are trying to develop relationships between the two groups in a new way.
We are trying to show the upcoming generation that we dont have to be confrontational on truth, Johnson said. There is a lot of room for us to build on our compromise of scriptures. http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/54045
Biola University sociologist Richard Flory and University of Southern California religion professor Don Miller are the creators of "Recovery of Ritual," a new exhibit at Biola that, according to the Los Angeles Times, "explores challenges that churches face in attracting younger worshipers."
Four categories are depicted: Reactors, which use "nostalgic efforts that focus on the recovery of reason, seeking to roll back the clock on our postmodern culture;" Imitators, who "hijack portions of popular culture and inject a Christian message;" Reappropriators, who thirst for orthodoxy and are transfixed by the smells and bells of liturgical churches; and Innovators, who want to reinvent the church and focus on "intimate community."
Of these, the Times reports, only the Reactors are treated with derision. "The centerpiece of this section is a small television that shows talking-head shots of academics and pastors defending Christianity through the use of Scripture," reports William Lobdell. "On the wall are political cartoons from the 1920s, magazines from the 1950s and current books, all giving the same message: The only hope for Christianity against modern culture is hammering away at biblical truths."
And around the TV in an endless loop, Lobdell notes, "is a small electric train with 'Facts' as its engine, 'Faith' as the second car, and 'Feeling' as the caboose." The Times doesn't note it, but this metaphor was made famous through Campus Crusade's "Four Spiritual Laws," which may be one of the "outdated tracts or pamphlets on how to become a Christian" that's noted in the exhibit.
Since this exhibit is at a traditionally conservative Christian school, expect a reaction from some "Reactors" who won't be pleased with such disdain for "hammering away at biblical truths." The modern gospel of "relevancy" has come under criticism from some of the most prominent post-boomer evangelicals (though "authenticity" is still as broadly embraced as the Times suggests). Nevertheless, using popular culture seems to be seen as a shortcut for reaching "these kids today."
Witness, for example, Crescent Heights United Methodist Church in West Hollywood. The church has a Broadway tune sing-along that brings in 40 people a week. "The music people love, to my mind, is sacred," Pastor John Griffin told The New York Times in Sunday's edition. "I don't see music divided into sacred and secular. If it touches people, or lifts people, that's sacred."
But will tunes from "Oklahoma!" and "La Cage aux Folles" keep the seats filled? Maybe and maybe not. Check out another piece in the Los Angeles Times:
In September of 1992, [Mark] Tomaino was a 31-year-old evangelical Christian who was questioning his faith and had resigned as lay leader of the singles ministry at the former Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim. When a friend from an Internet bulletin board announced that she was attending The Rocky Horror Picture Show one evening, Tomaino caught [amateur theater troupe] Midnight Insanity's extravaganza at the Art Theatre. Tomaino attended the next week's show, volunteered for the troupe and never looked back.
But it wasn't the film that got him, he says. "When I missed church for a few weeks, nobody would call," he tells the Times. "But if you missed anything at Rocky, somebody calls and asks if you're OK."
Midnight Insanity even has a crisis hotline. "We've had calls from people who are at the end of their rope and wouldn't call a regular hotline," Tomaino says. "We're not trying to rush [them] to the hospital. We [tell them] we care, and to say 'hi' at next Saturday's [Rocky Horror] show. Then they have something to look forward to."
They just don't tell their listeners how they have TWO gospels.
And none of them is the real one.
Quote: On October 29, La Mirada and Biola University were cited in "The Los Angeles Times" as major Bush supporters in a historically democratic county. In the 2000 presidential election, the University was instrumental in providing Bush with 93% of votes for the precinct containing La Mirada. This was his best mark in California for a polling ward of more than 35 voters. La Mirada is located 20 miles south of the city of Los Angeles.
Biola is a theologically conservative, Protestant university that provides biblically centered education in a wide range of undergraduate programs and graduate education through the doctoral level. http://www.biola.edu/news/articles/10-29_latimes.cfm
Now compare George W. Bush with all his "godly" actions, and what Biola tought Mark Mohr about Haile Selassie. The following excerpt is taken from the book that was handed out to Buju Banton and is taken off the market, but still circulates privately. Mark Mohr also in October 2004 has sent this as a representation of his faith to someone, and closed with the words "I hope you'll buy it when you like what you see..."
In Selassie's title the words "Elect of God" keep ringing in my head, for a king is supposed to be chosen by God and given authority to rule. Selassie was elect of himself. It is Royal tradition to be chosen or appointed as king and be crowned by someone of authority (other than oneself). [i]Haile Selassie arbitrarily took the throne by force, through trickery and even murder. He chose himself and crowned himself despite public opinion. Even if he was Elect by God, according to the New Testament, Almighty God would not have chosen for things to have happened in this manner."