Fuller Theological Seminary

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Kiffen, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. Kiffen

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    I have a very good Asian friend of Chinese descent who is asking me about Fuller Theological Seminary. She has been told it is well suited for International students such as herself whose first language is mandarin Chinese.

    I am not well acquainted with Fuller. I have heard it is liberal to Charismatic. Could someone give me info on Fuller? Also any recommendations for a Graduate School or Seminary for someone whose English is subpar and speaks primarily Mandarin Chinese?
     
  2. Ben W

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    I can confirm that a number of its graduates have been and are members of the A.O.G and various other Pentecostal - Charasmatic churchess.

    My opinion is that it is one of the best theological schools in the western world.
     
  3. Humblesmith

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    As I understand it, Fuller had a shakeup a few years back, when they denied the innerancy of the Bible and almost all the innerantists on the faculty left the school. They have been accused of being somewhat liberal. The only facts I have is the story of the Prof's leaving, plus one other:

    The president of the seminary is attempting to reach out to the Mormons, and as such, has made good friends with a couple of BYU profs. They have apparenlty influenced his understanding of Mormonism, to the point that last November he made some totally outlandish statements to an audience in Salt Lake. From what was quoted in several news sources, the President of Fuller does not know historic Mormon doctrine.

    Given that the school does not hold to the innerancy of scripture, and the apparent liberal bent, I cannot recommend the school.

    I do not know of a school who has a professor who speaks Mandarin. Perhaps there are some. But any school will require classes from Prof's who do not. I suggest trying one of the larger seminaries, who have surely faced this issue before. Try Dallas Theological Seminary, they are quite large.

    God bless.
     
  4. Ben W

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    I thnk that it would be fair to show from there own documentation that they deny the inerrancy of Scripture, If that claim is so, then that is a serious allegation. Hence it should be proven with a link to one of there publications stating that it is so.
     
  5. El_Guero

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  6. swaimj

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    Check out the book Reforming Fundamentalism by George Marsden. It documents the story of Fuller Seminary and the school's rejection of inerrancy. Marsden was a professor at Duke University in the past and I believe that he is now at Harvard. His story is well documented. Also, check out Harold Lindsell's The Battle for the Bible. This book by a former editor of Christianity Today also deals with the fight over inerrancy at Fuller.
     
  7. Broadus

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  8. El_Guero

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    If one makes negative claims about Fuller, I would hope they could provide evidence ... IMHO.
     
  9. Anleifr

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    Fuller is a very good school. It has a diverse faculty and student population from various Christian traditions. It is a conservative, evangelical seminary that prepares students for future ministry.

    The scholars at Fuller are first rate. Some of the best papers, books and research have come out of Fuller. They were the pioneer school for studying church growth in the early 80s. Much of the church growth that occurred in the 90s was a result of the influence of their work. I know the New Testament department had been active on studying the Gospels in the last decade. The professors are from diverse traditions but Presbyterian seems to dominate.

    The president Mouw of Fuller has been reaching out to Mormons. Nothing wrong with that. The “flap” over his comments came when, addressing a crowd of Mormons, he apologized for evangelical Christians' misrepresentation of the Mormon beliefs. "Let me state it clearly. We evangelicals have sinned against you," he said. People took what he said as an indication that he believed that Mormons are right in their beliefs. Mouw responded to this criticism:

    "I certainly did not mean to imply that every evangelical has sinned in this regard," Mouw wrote. "Suppose I were to address an African-American gathering and say that we whites have sinned against you blacks. Who would deny that this is a correct assessment? But who would think that I was speaking about and on behalf of all white people?" Mouw stated that there are "very real issues of disagreement" between Mormon and Christian doctrine "of eternal significance." Then he added, "But now we can discuss them as friends. In none of this am I saying that Mormons are 'orthodox Christians.' But I do believe that there are elements in Mormon thought that if emphasized, while de-emphasizing other element, could constitute a message within Mormonism of salvation by grace alone through the blood of Jesus Christ," Mouw wrote. "I will work to promote that cause."

    http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=19612

    The problem with the inerrancy issue is that every Christian tradition has its own view of what inerrancy means. Evangelicals have not reached a consensus on what the term implies. It’s not a Biblical term and so various groups interpret it in various ways depending upon their own traditions. Unfortunately, every Christian can accuse the other Christian on not believing in inerrancy if they do not hold to the degree of inerrancy held by another. Here is a link to Fuller’s Statement of Faith.

    http://www.fuller.edu/catalog2/01_Introduction_To_Fuller/1_Ministry_of_Fuller.html

    “III. Scripture is an essential part and trustworthy record of this divine self-disclosure. All the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, are the written word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. They are to be interpreted according to their context and purpose and in reverent obedience to the Lord who speaks through them in living power.”
     
  10. swaimj

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    The history of Fuller Seminary and their weakness on inerrancy is well documented in the books I referenced earlier.

    Saying that there is no consensus in evangelicalism on the definition of inerrancy is indicative of evangelicalism in general and an ironic defense of Fuller Seminary specifically. First, I cannot think of a single doctrine in evangelicalism that is clearly defined and universally understood by all evangelicals. Name one, please! Second, Fuller Seminary's singularly most prominent contribution to evangelicalism is a lack of clarity on inerrancy. Prior to that school's existence, evangelicals uniformly held to inerrancy and could clearly define it. Sadly, the slippery slope of rejecting inerrancy onto which Fuller entered has led them in recent years to promote the bizarre practice of the "laughing revival" and, more recently, an inability to distinguish between Christianity and Mormonism. I detect cause and effect between the old historic rejection of inerrancy and the modern aberrant behaviour.

    A message to those who would promote the school or attend there: Be Ware!
     
  11. PatsFan

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    When I was in college in the early 1980's irrancy seemed clearly defined as "without error in the autographs." Lindsell's "Battle For the Bible" spells it out, as have many other good books. If you read Millard Erickson's "Christian Theology" you see all the different variations of this doctrine that have come about. You almost have to ask someone what they mean when they say they believe in inerrancy.
     
  12. El_Guero

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    Kiffen

    First, http://www.logos-seminary.edu It is in Chinese and therefore, I have NO IDEA what they believe ...

    Second, while there are some "wild" claims made on this thread about Fuller, I would suggest your friend look for where they teach in Chinese.

    Should Fuller have a Chinese language program, I have heard that Fuller sounds "conservative" evangelical. With their being in California, that could mean many things.

    In Christ
     
  13. Kiffen

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    Thanks El Guero, I apprecriate it...and to ALL who have expressed their views, I thank you. [​IMG]
     
  14. Anleifr

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    Well, Marsden’s book cannot be too bad because Fuller promotes it at their bookstore.

    http://www.fullerseminarybookstore.com/search_results.php?id_author=1665

    Since the book is about the shift of Fuller away from Fundamentalism then I think we need clarification about what Fuller’s inerrancy view is and why their statement of faith on the Scriptures does not reflect their teaching.

    Again, we all have our own definition of inerrancy. We cannot simply throw out a term and label a group of people or an individual without clarifying what we mean by the term. If we do not know what the term means than we shouldn’t label others with it.

    Actually, it is a perfect defense. Fuller is an evangelical school with a diverse faculty. Various professors at Fuller hold various views on inerrancy because there are various views on inerrancy. Any good evangelical school one attends is going to have the same diversity.

    First, I cannot think of a single doctrine in evangelicalism that is clearly defined and universally understood by all evangelicals. Name one, please! Second, Fuller Seminary's singularly most prominent contribution to evangelicalism is a lack of clarity on inerrancy. Prior to that school's existence, evangelicals uniformly held to inerrancy and could clearly define it. Sadly, the slippery slope of rejecting inerrancy onto which Fuller entered has led them in recent years to promote the bizarre practice of the "laughing revival" and, more recently, an inability to distinguish between Christianity and Mormonism.

    Well, I am not familiar with their “promotion” of the “laughing revival”
    but I do know that the accusation that they downplay the differences between orthodox Christianity and Mormonism is bunk. I think my previous post demonstrated as much. Therefore, since this accusation is bunk, I cannot help but be skeptical of the accusation that they “promote” the “laughing revival”. Especially since, if they are in fact Presbyterian liberals as so many Southern Baptists seem to believe, they would promote charismatic fringe movements, which tend to be on the conservative side of Christendom. In fact, I did a very cursory search on the Internet and found no promotion of the “laughing revival” at all.

    You can detect but can you prove? Can you make an argument? Can you even provide evidence that such modern aberrant behavior exists?
     
  15. gb93433

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    Dr. Michael Wilkins who is the dean of the school of theology at Talbot Seminary is a Fuller graduate. Fuller graduates are conservative and not so conservative. It depends on their background. It has been my experience that most are much more conservative than the majority of mainline denomonational schools.
     
  16. Anleifr

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    We have Fuller gradutes teaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who are both conservative and inerrantists.
     
  17. swaimj

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    Anleifr,
    I made two main points in reference to Fuller Seminary:

    First, I cannot think of a single doctrine in evangelicalism that is clearly defined and universally understood by all evangelicals. Name one, please!

    You gave this reply which I feel confirms the first point:
    Thus, it seems that the only value about which all evangelicals can agree is "diversity". Again I ask you, can you cite a single doctrine which all evangelicals can affirm?

    My second point was this: Second, Fuller Seminary's singularly most prominent contribution to evangelicalism is a lack of clarity on inerrancy.

    Your reply:
    Thanks for confirming what I said. Fuller's contribution to evangelicalism is a lack of clarity on this issue.

    If you feel that the essence of good education is muddying the waters on all definitions so that unity is attained on the basis of muddled thought, go for it! I don't think that is good education. Others will have to evaluate it for themselves and decide if Fuller is a worthwhile place to study.
     
  18. Anleifr

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    Deity of Christ, Existence of God, Salvation by Faith, missions, etc. These are just some of the clearly defined and universally understood by all evangelicals.

    Nonsense. How can a lack of clarity be a prominent contribution? If anything, there church growth studies in the 1980s were the most prominent contribution to evangelicalism (which, by the way, found that orthodox churches, i.e., those that teach Scripture grew the fastest). Fuller advocates teaching Scripture because it grows cultures. This, I think, was their most prominent contribution. By “prominent”, I mean “widely known”.

    Fuller seminary didn’t contribute to the various views of the inerrancy of the Scripture. Two things did: 1) Careful analysis of the Scriptures and 2) various traditions within evangelical Christendom. A four-square gospel Baptist is going to have a different view of Scripture than an Independent Fundamentalist, a Southern Baptist, and Independent Baptist, a Presbyterian and a Methodist.

    But are you looking for clarity or consensus? I have a different view of the inerrancy of Scripture than some others but that does not mean that I am unclear about the issue or that those that disagree with me are unclear. It simply means that we just don’t agree.

    We have to be careful not to associate our own interpretation of Scripture with the true meaning of Scripture and then call anyone else who disagrees with our interpretation of Scripture someone who believes the Bible errs. Too many times have I see someone called an anti-inerrantist simply because he has a different interpretation of Scripture.

    For instance, some people believe that Christ cleansed the temple twice. Others believe he only cleansed it once. The basis for the belief that Christ cleansed the temple twice is that John’s Gospel puts the temple cleansing at the beginning of His ministry. The other Gospels put in towards the end. There are two possibilities: Either Christ did cleanse the temple twice or John has put the temple cleansing out of chronological order on purpose to make a theological point. Neither of these possibilities denies the inerrancy of Scripture but time and again I have heard many who hold the former view accuse those who hold the latter view of believing the Bible errs.

    Because of this and other factors, I am always hesitant to deem some an inerrantist simply because a book makes that claim. I first want evidence.

    Other will have to evaluate, yes, but I am here to offer my contribution to their inevitable evaluation.
     
  19. Squire Robertsson

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    I think you mean
    On this point, I agree. Holding to a proper Doctrine of Bibliology and its exposition are the third rail of Evangelical thought. Besides the books already mentioned, I hasten to add another: Ernest Pickerings The Tragedy of Compromise.
     
  20. El_Guero

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    Anytime,

    ... It is difficult trying to get a degree in English
    ... of course, in Chinese ... the degree might have to be accepted by everyone ... ;o)
     

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