LTRP Note: For several years now, Lighthouse Trails has received letters from many women who have been involved with BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). Each one expressed a concern that the organization once taught God’s Word but over the last decade especially began to drift. Lighthouse Trails noted in 2010 that BSF’s current executive director Susie Rowan is a proponent of contemplative prayer (and we knew this would eventually lead to an emergent, social-justice “gospel.”) Linda, the BSF leader who wrote the letter below confirms this. Incidentally, Linda submitted her resignation letter to BSF last week after being involved with the organization for over 20 years (12 years as a leader).
“Co-incidentally,” we received a second letter last week from another BSF member who shared similar concerns. In Victoria’s letter, she stated:
I WAS a Bible Study Fellowship member awaiting the fall 2018 class . . . until I read Susie Rowan’s e-book seemingly promoting Dominion Theology. Susie promotes questionable authors that support the rapid growing apostate emergent church, socialism, and the NAR. It tells me through the language in her e-mails and books, she is in favor of Dominionism’s seven mountains, the ecumenical movement / emergent church.
It seems there is more focus on building the ecumenical emergent church than there is building a relationship with Christ. He seems to be put on the back burner when it comes to politics, culture, and leaning into liberal perspective and “rules for change.” . . . I was looking forward to a different more conservative group this fall not realizing this “movement” was coming from the leadership – I did not know BSFI was so heavily immersed into politics etc. that drive the tone of socialism and liberalism downward to the attendee. Victoria
And now the letter from Linda, the BSF leader who just resigned:
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I thought you might want to read this and alert your readers. The attached eBook [this link taken from BSF FB page] is co-written by Susie Rowan, head of BSF International. It was emailed to BSF class members and leadership this month to lay the foundation for their new study, a revision of the former study called “History of Israel and the Minor Prophets.” The new study is “People of the Promised Land (Part 1),” a name exposing BSF’s departure from a focus on Scripture’s purpose of revealing God and His glory to instead follow the wide path of man-centric teachings.
Concerns from this publication include, but are not limited to:
*Quotes by Rick Warren & Timothy Keller — They quote many people (secular, too). You will probably know more “red flag” names than I am aware of.
*Substitution of “Gospel Community” for “Body of Christ” (“Community” is used 20 times; Body 0). I am wondering why I don’t read more about the concern of this trend in “Christian” ministries/churches? The popular buzz word is “community” these days, used as a replacement for the biblical word “Body.” Community and body are NOT synonyms. Only the body has a Head, with the individual parts literally dependent upon one another. Though “community” celebrates togetherness, individuality is the emphasis (like the secular philosophy of multiculturalism). With community, the required unity and inter-dependence of parts are minimized or ignored. Above all, the subtlety that seems to be missed is how “community” completely neglects the need and purpose for the Head. It’s about the people, the benefit of their togetherness and their strength in joining forces. Reminds me a lot of Babel.
*Distortion of 1 Corinthians 3 — Chapter 1 mishandles this text with a man-centric application about godly leadership, ignoring Paul’s clear teaching that GOD is the point, not he who sows/waters. This chapter lays the groundwork for the new study. “People of the Promised Land” apparently will not be about God, but the great men (leaders) of the Bible.
*BSF teaches that believers have a biblical mandate to redeem their culture, quoting Chuck Colson as support, rather than God’s Word. They have recently partnered with Barna and Steve Graves, who also push this man-centric, non-biblical agenda. Their refrains are “engage the culture” and “keep the conversation going.”
*The book’s concluding statement: “If we live well now, we’ll leave behind something worth remembering,” emphasizing the book’s recurring point that believer’s should be driven to leave a legacy on this earth. (Purpose-driven life?) Conspicuously absent is the biblical mandate to live for God’s glory alone.
*Steve Graves (co-author)—Check out his website. His primary vocation is executive coaching. Rowan appears to have been a client? His focus is man’s personal fulfillment, not God’s glory.
*Rowan signs all of her correspondence with a call for the “FAME” of Jesus (vs. His glory)
BSF has forgotten their first love. The ministry is rapidly circling the drain, teaching elements of Spiritual Formation, pushing seeker-friendly training of leaders, watering-down their study materials, and redefining “grace” and “love” in the training of their leadership, in promoting silence/compromise over speaking truth that may offend. I have been in BSF since 1996, with 12 years in leadership. I have watched the steady decline of this ministry since Susie Rowan assumed the helm about a decade ago. The departure from truth has become most evident starting with the training of leadership last year, and now with this very overt, “in writing” proclamation of BSF’s new direction to all registered members. The BSF Area Team last spring announced a coming five-year plan of significant changes. I cannot imagine what is next. Already BSF is but a shadow of its former self; it bears the same name and a familiarity of format, but the heart of the ministry to equip the church as a “training center” has been removed. It no longer seeks the glory of God, but has made “man” the focal point of God’s purpose. They give lip service to seeking the Lord in prayer, but their decisions and direction are formed from their numerous surveys of the population NOT attending their classes. They have become consumer-driven, compromising Truth in an effort to woo the “U-40” (under 40) crowd to join BSF. They measure their success and growth in numbers. They have forgotten their first love, the Word of God.
For many years, I have stayed in BSF to contend for the faith, to fight for truth through words and prayer. At this time, however, I believe that BSF is too far gone; the anti-Truth agenda too blatant. With a heavy heart, I will not be a part of BSF this fall, as I direct my time and energy to focus on promoting truth instead of fighting against lies. I can no longer be a part of something that is now clearly working against the pursuit of Truth. I am heartbroken.
I hope that you find this information useful in calling the unaware to be alert and sober-minded. BSF, with Susie Rowan at the helm, has been patient in pushing this anti-biblical agenda, but the water is now boiling. Is is too late for the frog?
For the GLORY of Jesus!
P.S. You probably should take a quick peek at this, too [Rowan’s new e-book, The Gospel Changes Everything] The notes section identifies some of those influencing Rowan. This publication served as a soft introduction to the shift in BSF’s focus/agenda.
LTRP Note: To understand more about the social-justice “gospel,” please read the following:
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)