InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Urbana '90 Student Mission Conference

- This was the 16th triennial student mission convention sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). Nearly 20,000 people, mostly the cream of Christian university students, gathered December 27-31, 1990 at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. IVCF welcomed Charismatic and Pentecostal missions agencies as "full participants" at the Convention. (IVCF also had a booth at the Indianapolis '90 Charismatic Congress in August of 1990.) There were also more women on the platform than ever before, and a band made up of Vineyard Fellowship musicians played for the attendees, which included members from 76 liberal, Catholic, charismatic, and so-called evangelical denominations. Most of the workshops were oriented to pop psychological, ecological, social, and globalism issues.

- Each Urbana '90 delegate's registration packet included a book that implied the possibility of salvation apart from Christ! The students were told that "the God I know would never send my friends to hell because they were ignorant." (5/91 Moody Monthly) In the Environmental Stewardship Bible Study, attendees were taught that "Jesus died to mend the breach [between humanity and nature]. He died to build a bridge between a loving God and our wounded selves. read Col. 1:9-14 aloud as your prayer for yourself. Thank God that Jesus has mended your broken relationship with nature."

- The 2/91 Moody Monthly said that, "The Urbana movement, which began in 1946, may be the most influential force shaping modern attitudes on world evangelism." If this is true, then Urbana is dangerous for many reasons: (The following information was reported in the 3/15/91 Calvary Contender, the February 1991 CIB Bulletin, the November-December 1990 Foundation, and the September 1991 The Christian World Report.):

ECUMENISM - Delegates came from 76 denominations,* social action was emphasized, and a Roman Catholic priest (who was also an IVCF staffer!) even led one seminar entitled, "InterVarsity and Catholic Campus Ministry: What We Have to Learn From One Another"--he assured attendees that, "Catholic or not, we are all Christians and just use different words to say the same thing. We need to stop fighting and become one." Questions from the audience were squelched if deemed "divisive" of the unity being promoted. In addition, the leaders of the five major Christian youth organizations (InterVarsity, Youth for Christ, Navigators, Young Life, and Campus Crusade) made a joint platform appearance, expressing their unity and support for the Urbana '90 meeting. (Also present on the program were Steve Green, Joni, and reps from TEDS, Fuller, SGA, World Vision, YWAM, and WBT.)

NEW AGE - Visualization, guided imagery, ventilation therapy, regression, and other occult techniques were taught and used, as well as using the latest psychological terminology and methods, all introduced within the framework of prayer. Mary Anne Voelkel, IVCF Director of Prayer, taught those present to visualize Jesus as stripping naked, clothing himself with only a towel, and then "touching you in your broken sexuality"! An example of one modern New Age technique taught was the "healing of the child within." The inner healing seminars were led by an Episcopal priest (Father Mike Flynn of St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Burbank, CA); those attending were "regressed" back into their childhood and told to visualize Jesus there with them, healing the hurts enacted upon them, visualize themselves walking into a room and see themselves as a child seated next to the person who hurt them. They were then instructed to "vent" their pain and emotions at this person. Forgiveness was never addressed for the person who had supposedly perpetrated this so-called hurt. One shocked pastor who attended said that the conference agenda seemed to have been taken directly out of Mark Satin's New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society, and asked the question, "How is it that the agenda of the New Age Movement is the same agenda being pushed at Urbana? Including some of the most basic occult techniques ?"

CHARISMATIC - For the music and worship sessions, delegates swayed and clapped to the beat of an 11-piece "Christian" rock band from the charismatic Vineyard Fellowship; they raised their hands in worship, and received prayer from inner healers.

- Delegates were briefed on how things were to transpire during the week: All the speakers speaking from the platform "would not be using language indicating gender;" i.e., in the place of man or woman, the word "person" would be used.

- Despite the above evidences of Urbana's departure from even a nominal evangelical position, and despite the clear intention to move toward ecumenical heresy, charismatic error, psychological techniques, worldly worship, and New Age philosophies and practices, there was a total absence of any protest from the top leaders of the evangelical world that were there. In fact, Billy Graham, unable to attend, sent a strong message of support, and Fuller Theological Seminary, perhaps the "most compromised and dangerous theological institution in the world today," was allowed to advertise its school in the official Urbana '90 daily convention newspaper. (November-December 1990 Foundation, p. 13.)

* This number includes 3389 registrants from independent and interdenominational churches, 3260 from 11 different Baptist groupings, 3233 from eight Presbyterian denominations, and 1059 from Evangelical Free Church of America.

Biblical Discernment Ministries - 10/91