- The NAE is the mainline neo-evangelical group. In recent years it has become increasingly ecumenical and charismatic. Charisma magazine said about 51 percent of NAE church members are Pentecostal. Some reports say it's 80 percent when charismatic churches are included, though most of these are independent. The NAE claims that Pentecostals have developed a base of trust within the NAE, though NAE conferences as yet have no tongues-speaking. By courting and accepting Pentecostal churches, organizations, and individuals, the NAE has given the false teachings of the Pentecostal movement an undeserved aura of theological respectability within evangelicalism, something that they had not previously been accorded by the mainline denominations which were a part of the ecumenical movement. With Ted Haggard, an Oral Roberts University grad and a charismatic, as its current president, the NAE can no longer disclaim its charismatic orientation. NAE chairman Bill Hamel says: "Ted crosses denominational and theological lines very easily" (6/03, Charisma). Foundation says: "Haggard writes a monthly column for a Charismatic magazine and frequently unites for ministry and worship with men such as Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, and C. Peter Wagner. He participated in the Promise Keepers Pastors and Leadership Conference in February 2003."
John White, former president of the NAE, says there is also a growing cooperation between the NAE and Roman Catholics (11/1/92, Calvary Contender). (A brochure promoting NAE's 50th anniversary convention in 3/92 listed Notre Dame professor James Burtchaell as a luncheon speaker. Burtchaell resigned from Notre Dame amid sexual misconduct charges, and subsequently, from the NAE engagement also.) [The NAE currently claims to represent 43,000 congregations from 52 denominations and individual congregations from an additional 27 denominations (many of the latter are still members of denominations in the NCC/WCC). They claim to have 22 million members, and "speak for" some 40 million evangelicals in America. See last section of this report for the most recent information on the NAE.]
- The NAE is a melting pot for new evangelicals of every stripe, including
so-called "evangelical" Catholics, ecumenists, feminists, and
pseudo-fundamentalists. Theologically, they represent the whole spectrum --
Mennonite to Reformed Presbyterian, from Baptist to Lutheran, Pentecostal, and holiness.
Don Argue, an Assemblies of God pastor, was the NAE president (1995-2001); he
was committed to making the NAE a politically correct organization since it is "too old,
too white, and too male," by recognizing that the "evangelical table is broad
and wide and long ..." In late-1996, Argue became the first president of the NAE to
speak to the apostate National Council of Churches in America (NCC), an arm of the
radically liberal World Council of Churches. Argue said he had developed a "good
relationship" with the NCC's general secretary, Joan Brown Campbell (11/19/96, Ecumenical
News Agency). Argue said he had no difficulty recognizing NCC leaders as fellow
According to Religion Watch, the NAE took part in formal discussions with the Eastern Orthodox churches and is already engaging in ecumenical evangelism with the Orthodox in largely Orthodox post-communist countries. According to Religion Watch, the NAE has come to the view that "we cannot go in with our normal historic pattern of assuming that the whole culture is not Christian [and this] has impacted most of the mission-sending groups -- for example, John Guest and his evangelistic efforts. When he goes into Romania, he seeks the cooperation of the Orthodox church. I don't think that would have happened before these discussions and this new awareness." [At it's 2003 convention, the NAE even permitted the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church to lease exhibit space!]
- The NAE has a series of commissions which attract people with special interests. Most of them do not even bear the name of the NAE. They act as flypaper to catch those with an interest in certain subjects. Such commissions are the Evangelical Foreign Missions Associations, the World Relief Commission, The Commission on Chaplains, the Evangelism and Spiritual Life Commission, The National Religious Broadcasters, The Social Concern Commission, The National Sunday School Commission, the National Association of Christian Schools, and the Theology Commission. One can see at a glance how these commissions tend to attract innocent victims who are interested in the chaplainry, missions, Sunday school, or Christian schools. Through his particular interest, the victim finds himself unintentionally affiliated with the NAE.
The NRB used to be a "commission" of NAE, but split-off in early-2001,
ending a relationship that went back to 1944. Karl Stoll, communications
director of the NRB, said the decision was based on the NAE's growing
relationship with the modernistic National Council of Churches. In February
2000, the NAE changed its bylaws to allow member denominations to hold joint
membership in the NCC. In September 2000, the Los Angeles Times reported
that the NAE and the NCC "are considering realigning and forming a third
group." Kevin Mannoia, head of the NAE at the time of the NRB split, told
the Times that "the block walls are coming down and giving way to
picket fences." (To disassociate from the NAE is a wise move on the part of
the NRB, but it is very puzzling. For one thing, many member denominations and
organizations of the NRB are separately members of the NAE. It is meaningless
for the NRB as a body to "pull out of" the NAE when at the same time
its individual members remain members in good standing of the latter. It looks
like mere religio-political posturing.)
- The March-April 1992 issue of Foundation magazine did a lengthy report on the NAE's 50th Anniversary meeting held in Chicago on 3/5/92. Billy Melvin, NAE's Executive Director, boasted at Chicago that "The NAE is the voice you can trust." Sadly, this is simply not true. The following paragraphs summarize Foundation 's report:
(a) NAE was established in St. Louis, Missouri, April 7-9, 1942. NAE leaders boasted of its numerical growth; of its success in providing "leadership for a dynamic and diverse movement"; of its ability to "unite evangelicals from many theological perspectives and ecclesiastical traditions"; and of its "continuing fidelity to its original Statement of Faith." The establishment of the NAE was actually a repudiation of historic fundamentalism, founded on a platform of compromise. Those original compromises have multiplied over the last five decades.
(b) In the convention press packet, the following Glossary of Terms was printed:
1) Evangelicalism: "... Evangelicals, though theologically conservative, have not avoided contact with secular culture and diverse religious traditions. Evangelicalism embraces groups from both the Calvinistic and Arminian persuasion, including most of the major Pentecostal groups within the United States."
2) Fundamentalism: "... In the 1940s, fundamentalists became distinguished from other conservative Protestants over the interpretation of several verses from the New Testament (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) ... The issue came to a head over the broadly based evangelistic crusades of Billy Graham. Some rejected Graham's involvement of entire communities [i.e., Roman Catholics and 'liberals'] in his crusades. Those who opposed such efforts continue to be known as fundamentalists."
3) NAE "... The NAE is a voluntary association of individuals, denominations, churches, schools and organizations dedicated to united action without theological compromise ... NAE was formed because evangelicals were uncomfortable both with those who espoused the theologically liberal 'social gospel' and fundamentalists who neglected Christian ideal for negative attacks on others [-- a classic example of the way in which evangelical compromisers seek to excuse and defend their own disobedience to the Word of God regarding Biblical separation. Scriptural reproof of and separation from false teachers, disobedient brethren, and the things of the world, in no way indicate either negative attacks on others or a lack of Christian ideals. Exactly the opposite is true (2 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Thes. 3:6, 14,15; 1 John 2:5,15-17; Eph. 4:15)].
(c) Three major compromises were made by the founders of NAE, each of which has contributed in a large way to its numerical growth and prestige in the religious world:
- the decision not to require separation from liberal churches or denominations as a condition of membership;
- the decision to include Pentecostal denominations, churches, and individuals in its membership; and
- the formulation and adoption of a very brief statement of faith which all applicants were expected to sign as a condition of membership.
(d) NAE's Statement of Faith is so brief and lacking in specificity on several crucial doctrinal matters that it offers no real protection to its members against the admission of those who believe and teach unscriptural doctrines; e.g., the omission of the word "inerrancy" concerning the Word of God. Also, no mention is made of the Bible being our only authority -- our only rule for faith and practice. There is nothing concerning salvation being entirely by grace through faith, totally apart from works or sacraments (Eph 2:8-9). These major omissions were not accidental but deliberate. NAE leaders wanted a more inclusive and broader fellowship than that prescribed by the Word of God, and that's exactly what they got -- a "diverse movement" from "many theological perspectives and ecclesiastical traditions." [At a meeting in May, 1989, a majority of a group of 385 neo-evangelical theologians of the NAE even voted against the doctrine of eternal punishment. They proclaimed instead the Seventh-Day Adventist and Jehovah Witness doctrine of "conditionalism" or soul-sleep. (Reported in the 6/3/89, World.)]
(e) For the most part, NAE leaders are now doing their best to promote the false claim that the National and World Councils of Churches are becoming more evangelical and less liberal. Deceived by the unscriptural example and influence of evangelical leaders like Billy Graham, Bill Bright, Leighton Ford, Luis Palau, and other compromisers, many of those in the NAE and other evangelicals around the world are now joining with Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and NCC and WCC liberals in prayer, worship, evangelism, social action, and efforts for world peace. For 50 years, the NAE has insisted on having God-forbidden fellowship. For 50 years, it has refused to exercise God-commanded reproof.
(f) Some very glaring inconsistencies surfaced again at the various sessions at the convention. Two speakers shared the platform at the closing session -- evangelist Peter Kusmic, who is generally considered to be the premier evangelical leader in Eastern Europe, and Dr. Billy Graham. Talk about inconsistencies! Here are two top evangelical leaders speaking on the same program. One leader (Kusmic) talks about the dangers posed by the false teachings of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, and the other (Graham), departing from his prepared text, reported that he would be holding meetings later in 1992 with the Orthodox leaders in Russia and with Roman Catholic leaders in Eastern Europe.
(g) The one pastor and church which was held up as an example for other evangelicals to follow was Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. It would be difficult to find any other church which has incorporated more worldliness in its programs than this one.
- In 4/95, the Ohio Bible Fellowship passed a resolution on the NAE. This statement still accurately represents what is wrong with the NAE:
"the NAE is adopting a position that is more in line with the social gospel than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ... established in 1942 as an organization striving for a moderate position between the Federal Council of Churches (which became the National Council of Churches in 1950) and the American Council of Christian Churches, and has grown to represent 80 denominations and 50,000 churches. NAE adopted a minimalistic doctrinal statement which did not require separation from apostasy and was tolerant of charismatic groups ... the NAE is thoroughly ecumenical and is dedicated to racial reconciliation, societal morality, social concerns and gender sensitivity at the expense of entangling alliances and blurring of the true Gospel. ... Recent [NAE] resolutions include: (1) a one page document acknowledging the sin of racism and calling on churches, institutions, and individuals to 'foster a new climate of sensitivity and respect,' (2) an appeal for 'reasonable and just admissions policies for refugees and immigrants,' and (3) an exhortation to Congress to 'approve foreign aid budgets' to protect humanitarian aid effort."
- In June 1996, Dr. Ralph Colas of the American Council of Christian Churches (ACCC) did a special report of the NAE's 54th annual meeting held in Minneapolis 3/3/96-3/5/96. Is the NAE still a voice you can trust," as Billy Melvin claimed in 1992? Sadly, it wasn't true then or now. The following paragraphs summarize Dr. Colas' report:
(a) The theme of the convention was Reaching America: One Voice in Unity. NAE leaders admit they are moving into the "mainstream of religion" in America as they turn to social action and attempt to salvage neighborhoods and cities. At a press conference, a discerning reporter responded to this new emphasis on social action by saying, "You are not just going mainstream, you are moving into the mainline denominational position." (She referred to the position of the National Council of Churches' [NCC] mainline denominations and their commitment to social action.)
(b) Convention speakers included: Dr. John Allan Knight, general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene; Jill Briscoe, neo-evangelical, psychologizer, author, and speaker; Joe Stowell, president of Moody Bible institute; Bishop Gilbert E. Patterson, pastor of the Temple of Deliverance in Memphis, Tennessee; Luis Palau, neo-evangelical, Catholic sympathizer and international evangelist; John Corts of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; and Bill McCartney, founder of Promise Keepers. [Promise Keepers is the gigantic new (1991) "men's movement" among professing evangelical Christians. Its roots are Catholic and charismatic to the core. PK's contradictory stand on homosexuality; its promotion of secular psychology; its unscriptural feminizing of men; its depiction of Jesus as a "phallic messiah" tempted to perform homosexual acts; and its ecumenical and unbiblical teachings should dissuade any true Christian from participating. Promise Keepers is proving to be one of the most ungodly and misleading movements in the annals of Christian history.]
(c) Women played prominent roles at the Convention. Caroline Michael, Advent Christian Church, raised her hand over the group as she pronounced the benediction. She also serves as a member of the NAE's Women's Commission. Diana Gee, chairman of Women's Commission, led in prayer. Jill Briscoe brought the Sunday evening message; she also serves as vice president of World Relief, a subsidiary of the NAE (its unrestricted income for 1995 was more than $24 million).
(d) The Nominating Committee brought in its report, and the body voted on the individuals suggested to serve on NAE's board. Along with those elected to serve with president Donald Argue, Assembly of God, four of the six officers (including Argue) are from the Pentecostal/Charismatic denominations.
(e) Luis Palau, who it is said has spoken face-to-face to eleven million people in 63 nations, spoke on History Past and History Present. He challenged convention attendees to "practice our oneness in spite of the pressure of denominations. Promise Keepers is the touch of God with its message of reconciliation," Palau declared. At the NAE's banquet, Bill McCartney, founder of Promise Keepers, was given the NAE's Lay Person of the Year Award. The NAE explained that this award is presented annually to someone who demonstrates leadership in Evangelical activity and thought. At this same banquet, Billy Graham was recognized with the NAE's Lifetime Achievement Award.
(f) Other observations:
1. Demonstrating the NAE's policy of unity over doctrine, NAE's leaders have rejected the Biblical doctrine of separation. J. Elwin Wright declared, "We should be able to at least shake hands over the tops of the fences." Stephen Paine (president of Houghton College) said, "The feeling of the NAE men has been that our organization was not founded to fight anybody." Lewis Sperry Chafer of Dallas Seminary observed, "I believe our first obligation is in the line of positive proclamation of God's truth rather than a negative objection against some specific enemy." Fifty-four years later, it is evident that the NAE and NCC are working together. The NAE has moved from "shaking hands over the tops of fences" to being in the same camp. An inclusive position, such as that of the NAE, can only lead to more and more identification and compromise.
2. The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) refused to invite President Bill Clinton to speak at their convention. However, Dr. Argue invited President Clinton to come to Minneapolis to speak to the NAE.
3. The NAE Convention recognized official visitors from NCC churches including two men and one woman, all three being pastors from American Baptist Convention churches. "Father" Jeffrey Grohs, U.S. Office of Catholics, along with one individual from an Ecumenical Institute, were also recognized from the NAE platform.
4. While its motto is Cooperation Without Compromise," the NAE practices just the opposite. One can be in the NAE and the NCC at the same time.
- In June 1997, Dr. Colas did a special report of the NAE's 55th annual meeting held in Orlando 3/4/97-3/6/97. The 1997 theme was Our Shared Vision -- Reaching America. The attendance was about 500. Colas' observations (in addition to those from the 54th annual meeting) are important to note:
(a) The NAE leadership has for several years been attempting to overcome the obvious reality that most of their delegates are white, male, and middle-aged, or even older. A look at of the list of convention platform participants reveals an attempt to change the situation. At each public evening service, women had the responsibility not only of ushering, but also of reading from the Old and New Testaments and leading in prayer. At one service, it was announced that all of the women on the program that night were under 40 years of age. Moreover, Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, was the speaker at the annual banquet, which was the closing service of the convention.
(b) Speakers at this year's convention included Dr. Crawford W. Loritts, Jr., national director of Legacy (a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ); Josh McDowell, Josh McDowell Ministries; England's Baroness Caroline Ann Cox, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords; Anne Graham Lotz, AnGel Ministries; Dr. David W. Johnson, a Christian & Missionary Alliance minister from Minneapolis, Minnesota; Ted Haggard, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Dr. David L. Erickson, Promise Keepers; George Barna, Barna Research Group; and Vonette Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ.
(c) The NAE Committee on Committees brought in their recommendations of those to be elected. Elected to the Class of 2000 of the board of directors was Ann Gimenez, woman pastor of Rock Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Christian Higher Education Commission includes Joseph Stowell, president of Moody Bible Institute, and Chuck Swindoll, president of Dallas Theological Seminary.
(d) The emcee for most of the sessions was Ted Haggard, New Life Church and World Prayer Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Haggard is listed as one of the main speakers at three International Conferences on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare in 1997, along with other Charismatic leaders. Charisma magazine featured a full-page advertisement promoting these conferences with C. Peter Wagner of Fuller Theological Seminary, and urging everyone to attend. Haggard commented that David Yonggi Cho, the Charismatic pastor of more than 1 million church members in Korea, had influenced him. He described churches as fitting into three groups: liberal churches, life giving churches (like his church), and legalistic churches (which "cut off people's heads with the Bible").
(e) Other Observations:
1. The NAE represents 43,000 churches from 48 member denominations, and individual congregations from an additional 22 denominations, as well as several hundred independent churches. Their membership includes 255 parachurch ministries and educational institutions. Thus, the NAE would claim to represent over 27 million people. The largest constituency in the NAE comes from Pentecostal/Charismatic groups. [The charismatic influence in the NAE was clearly evident -- the last day of the convention began with the forming of small groups (as is done at the Fasting and Prayer Conferences). The leader continues to mention items and matters for prayer while each group then puts hands on each others' shoulders and some raise their hands over the group, a practice often seen in Charismatic meetings.)
2. Some organizations that had rented space in the Resource Center were Campus Crusade for Christ, Mission America, Habitat for Humanity, Pioneer Clubs, Reformed Theological Seminary, American Bible Society, Pocket Testament League, and Promise Keepers, the latter which was heavily promoted at the convention.
3. One of the busy spots at the convention was the "Christians for Biblical Equality" exhibit. This group made available the books Women Elders Called By God and What Paul Really Said About Women. This radical group is calling for women's ordination and rejecting the Scripture texts that forbid women serving as pastors and elders. Their statement said, "We believe that Scripture is to be interpreted holistically and thematically. The Bible teaches that in the New Testament economy women as well as men exercise the prophetic, priestly and royal functions. Women are to be used in pastoral care, teaching, preaching and worship." Among those who signed this declaration were Stuart Briscoe, Tony Campolo, Vernon Grounds, David Allen Hubbard, Bill Hybels, Richard Mouw, and Ron Sider.
4. At the final press conference, Dr. Donald Argue, president, was asked if he had received negative feedback because he spoke at the NCC General Assembly meeting. He replied that the leaders of the NAE were supportive and that he had a wonderful opportunity to tell the NCC leaders what an Evangelical really is. Joan Brown Campbell, NCC general secretary and a divorced American Baptist clergywoman, was quoted by the press: "Dr. Argue comes with the blessing of his board, and I think this makes it more significant." Both Campbell and Argue said shared issues -- from racism to pornography -- have promoted new communication between their groups. Ignoring Biblical instructions forbidding the joining of hands with the radical, ecumenical, liberal NCC leaders, the NAE reaches out in warmth and love to this apostate organization.
5. The NAE leaders intend to radically change the makeup of the program at NAE conventions. They continue to reinforce their alignment with Mission America and Promise Keepers. The NAE leadership, in fulfilling a previous determination, is using women, younger leaders, and people of color on their platform as well as seeing that they serve as members of commissions and committees.
6. The planned reception of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) into full membership (formally voted into membership on May 7th) will give the credibility WCG leaders desire. The NAE attendees gave Joseph Tkach, WCG's leader, a standing ovation [and later made him an NAE Board member!]. When Dr. Argue was given the WCG's statement on the Scriptures -- which is not even Evangelical, let alone Fundamentalist -- his response was that the president of Fuller Seminary had examined the doctrinal statement of the WWCG and found it to be in order.
7. The NAE has increased its visibility and influence. For example, Dr. Argue serves on a U.S. State Department committee regarding religious persecution. He also participated in President Clinton's pre-inaugural worship service, along with Tony Campolo, Bill Hybels, and Luis Palau. The truth remains that the NAE has embraced many of the same programs that the National and World Councils of Churches hold -- fighting racism, caring for the poor and oppressed, and demanding justice. Argue said that "If we are not faithful to this calling and this day of opportunity, God have mercy on us."
8. Churches that maintain membership in denominations that are a part of both the NCC and WCC are welcomed as members of the NAE. Some of those churches are part of the American Baptist Churches, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church. This religious hodgepodge comes about because the NAE continues as an inclusive organization.
- In June 2003, Dr. Ralph Colas did a special report of the NAE's 61st annual meeting held in Eden Park, MN, March 6-7, 2003. Colas' observations (in addition to those from the 54th and 55th annual meetings) are important to note:
(a) Because of internal strife at the 2001, 59th annual NAE convention, no 60th convention was held in 2002. The controversy two years ago erupted because of decisions by Dr. Kevin Mannoia, the NAE President at the time, to move the NAE office to the west coast at great expense, and also to open the NAE to entire denominations that held membership in both the National and World Council of Churches. [In 2002, the NAE voted to move back to Washington, D.C., presumably at further "great expense."] The Presbyterian Church of America, a constituent body in the NAE, raised a strong protest and even threatened to leave. Though there are many individual churches in the NAE that are also in the National and World Councils, this was an attempt by Dr. Mannoia to expand the NAE by bringing the Reformed Church in America into full membership. The issue was resolved when the NAE Board of Directors received the resignation of Mannoia and adopted a resolution forbidding entire denominations from being received into membership in the NAE.
(b) Dr. Leith Anderson was selected as the NAE interim-president while still remaining the senior pastor of Wooddale Church in Minnesota, the host church for the 61st convention. Dr. Anderson brought a measure of stability by his leadership and led the NAE in repaying the hundreds of thousands of dollars owed. He resigned as president at the close of the 61st convention, and a few days later it was announced that Dr. Ted Haggard, senior pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was selected. Haggard's church is building a 12,000 seat sanctuary on land near the Air Force Academy. He is a charismatic who also serves as president of The World Prayer Center, a strategic center for worldwide evangelistic prayer. [C. Peter Wagner, who taught church growth at Fuller Seminary, is the "general" who leads Christians in spiritual warfare at the WPC (5/15/99, Calvary Contender).] Dr. Bill Hamel, president of the Evangelical Free Church of America and NAE Board Chairman, said, "Ted Haggard will give evangelicals a positive and proactive leadership voice. His commitment to bringing evangelicals together for mission, prayer, and a united voice is a deeply held value that is acknowledged and known throughout the evangelical world."
(c) During one of the assembly sessions at the Wooddale Church, Dr. Haggard not only announced that his church would host NAE's Convention in 2004, but also said that the program would be built around an emphasis on "the mega churches in the USA. We will have Dr. Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral as one of our main speakers!" The fact that Dr. Schuller is both a Universalist and an apostate never seemed to be an issue.
(d) Other observations:
1. The NAE from its birth in 1942 has been committed to an inclusive policy. It failed to demand separation from the NCC/WCC in order to become a part of NAE. The majority of churches in the NAE are Pentecostal/Charismatic. That is certainly seen in the choice of Dr. Haggard as its new president. A previous president was Dr. Donald Argue, a leader in the Assemblies of God denomination.
2. The attendance at NAE Conventions in the past has averaged about 500. This year there were less than 200 who were registered.
3. The budget for the NAE is $700,000 and it was announced that they were now in the black again.
4. The new evangelical Mission America Coalition (MAC) recently formed an alliance with the NAE in an attempt to reach America for Christ. Honorary Co-Chairs of the MAC are Bill Bright [now deceased], Billy Graham and John Perkins. It is another illustration of ecumenical evangelism that is a trademark of the new evangelical movement.
5. One of the displays at this year's NAE Convention was the Evangelical Environmental Network with their posters containing the question, "What would Jesus Drive?" This foolish question raises the kind of issue that makes people feel good but it comes across as an anti-SUV bandwagon!
6. Biblical separation is neither taught nor practiced at NAE and NRB functions. God's Word clearly teaches separation from both apostasy and compromise (II Timothy 3:1-5; II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:11; II Thessalonians 3:6; Revelation 18:4).