- Stuart Briscoe was formerly senior pastor (now "minister-at-large") of the approximately 10,000-member Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Elmbrook was started in 1965 as a Baptist congregation, but became independent in 1968. Briscoe is also president of "Telling the Truth, Inc.," a radio and tape ministry that reaches many parts of the world. He has authored and co-authored more than 50 books and recorded more than 1,000 sermons. He has a Doctor of Divinity from the neo-evangelical Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (now Trinity International University -- an E-Free affiliated school), and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from John Brown University (Arkansas). [It is unclear whether these degrees are earned or honorary.]
Jill Briscoe was born in Liverpool, England, graduated from Homerton College,
Cambridge, and is on the Board of Directors of the neo-evangelical magazine Christianity
Today. The Briscoe family moved to the United States in 1970 and resides in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. They frequently "minister" together at so-called Christian marriage
enrichment seminars, etc. Both are highly neo-evangelical and
psychological in their teachings and associations. They currently minister
informal training to pastors in the third world where the church is growing but
training is unavailable.
- In 1959, the Briscoes took over a ministry (begun in England shortly after WWII by Ian Thomas) called "Torchbearers," a worldwide youth outreach organization. "Since Stuart Briscoe accepted the senior pastorate at Elmbrook, average Sunday morning attendance has grown to over 6,000 and five [now seven] additional churches have been established." It takes four police officers to keep the 2,500 cars moving smoothly into and out of the parking lots. Elmbrook's new state-of-the-art church building seats 3,000. The church's operating budget is $3.5 million, plus another $1.25 million for missions and $1.3 million for building expansion. Like most "church-growth movement" churches of recent times, Elmbrook is "program-oriented" rather than Bible-teaching oriented -- "[We] offer programs that meet real needs in people's lives," says Elmbrook's senior associate pastor Dick Robinson. Some of the programs offered include (all information derived from the March 1995 edition of Exclusively Yours, "Elmbrook Church: The Secret of Its Success," pp. 10-15):
(a) "An extensive counseling ministry with support groups for nearly every problem faced by people in today's society. Lay counselors are given extensive training; they refer people for professional help when it is needed." [Translation: A full range of psychotherapies is available, in-house or out-of-house.]
(b) "A range of family programs. ... a complete day care facility open to the public; a 'Mom's' program for mothers and their young children; ... Christian contemporary music concerts and social activities ... sports leagues in two full-size gyms ..."
(c) "Women's groups include leadership training ... lecture series for young mothers, working women, and 'empty nesters.'" [Translation: Elmbrook Church not only encourages women working outside the home, but facilitates it through church programs.]
(d) "Men's groups include Promise Keepers ... and Top Gun ... which emphasize commitment, responsibility, and positive role modeling for men." [See below plus BDM's report on the ecumenical, psychological, and charismatic Promise Keepers movement.]
(e) "The church's fine arts program is extensive, offering a wide variety of music ... (evenly split between traditional and contemporary) ... dramatic productions, and social activities." [Translation: Elmbrook has a wide variety of entertainment for all ages and tastes; e.g., in the Spring of 1996, Elmbrook hosted a Pat Boone concert, which included rock music -- Seats at $10 and up (11/96 letter on file).]
(f) An example is given in the article of an "involved" family at Elmbrook. The husband and wife have been trained by Elmbrook as lay counselors; the wife is the head of the post-abortion support program (see BDM's report on Crisis Pregnancy Centers for an analysis of the psychological and occultic teachings in this type of program); and the husband works in chemical dependency counseling and 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. Nevertheless, Stuart Briscoe is a
promoter of this ecumenical, charismatic, psychologized men's movement as evidenced by that detailed above and by his
writing numerous daily "devotionals" for publication in PK's
bi-monthly Men of Integrity
("your daily guide to the Bible and prayer").
- Jill Briscoe serves on the board of Christianity Today, neo-evangelicalism's most prominent magazine, and on the board of the theologically-liberal and politically-leftist, World Relief. She also first spoke at Moody's Founders week in 1985, and at least two other time since (the most recent being in 2001). The Briscoe's church in Wisconsin also has a liberal position on the role of women in ministry, e.g., "Elmbrook Church ordains women ... and has several women among its 20 full-time pastors." Jill Briscoe has stated that she "would like to see women become willing to serve the church at any level ..." Currently, women also serve as deacons at Elmbrook Church, and in the past have been considered for positions as elders. Elmbrook's associate pastor of women's ministries, Laurie Katz, states that, "At Elmbrook women are highly regarded and are given positions of responsibility in the church ... This church is stronger because of all the women who have been empowered here. ... The Council of Elders does not function in an authoritarian way, they just oversee things. We don't have to have our decisions approved by them" (March 1995, Exclusively Yours, "Elmbrook Church: The Secret of Its Success," pp. 10-15).
The 4/8/96 Christianity Today quotes Jill Briscoe thusly:
"And for eight years I preached and taught and saw people come to Christ on the streets. The hierarchy of the mission was thrilled and affirmed that gift in me... The people who have set me free to minister to men as well as to women have been men, not women. In my own church, through my husband and the elders, women have gained huge freedoms -- we have 'come a long way.' We have women pastors on staff. We have women in every echelon of leadership, apart from the council of elders." (Emphasis added.)
Jill Briscoe has also taught at Word of Life, Moody Bible Institute, and brought the Sunday evening message at the 3/96 National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) convention. Obviously, Jill Briscoe either has no idea of what the Bible teaches about women in ministry, or simply doesn't care.
- One of the busy spots at the 55th Annual NAE Convention (1997) 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 are Myron S. Augsburger, Stuart Briscoe, Tony Campolo, Vernon Grounds, David Hubbard, Bill Hybels, Richard Mouw, and Ronald Sider.
- Stuart Briscoe defines an "evangelical" as someone who has had "some type of conversion experience -- although that can be defined differently by different people, from a major turning point in life to a simple baptism" (March 1995, Exclusively Yours, "Elmbrook Church: The Secret of Its Success," pp. 10-15). That's easy-believism at best and baptismal regeneration at worst!!
- Stuart Briscoe, in his book What Works When Life Doesn't teaches: temperament theory, a form of personality typing that has more in common with astrology than with scientific fact (p. 114); that counselees need a psychologist for emotional problems, while pastors are good only for spiritual problems (p. 115); and that there is validity in the totally discredited concept of the Freudian "unconscious" (p. 118).
- Stuart and Jill Briscoe were both scheduled speakers for the 50th (1992) convention of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), a seriously compromised association of neo-evangelicals. Other featured speakers: James Burtchaell, professor (theology department and former Provost of the University of Notre Dame!); Bill Hybels (pastor of the Willow Creek Church (the rock music, entertainment, and "sermonette" church); Gordon MacDonald (an adulterer in a previous pastorate); Leighton Ford; and others. No one can question the Briscoes' neo-evangelical credentials! [Stuart Briscoe is also a partner in Christianity Today's PREACHING today series, along with church growth guru Bill Hybels and ecumenical psychologizer Haddon Robinson. Briscoe also spoke at a general conference at Dallas Seminary (the day after Chuck Swindoll's inauguration as president), along with James Dobson and Chuck Colson!]
- Both Stuart and Jill Briscoe spoke for James Dobson at his 7/95 International Congress on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Others appearing with the Briscoes were Catholic Bill Bennett; psychologizers Gary Smalley (right-brain/left-brain pseudoscience), Larry Crabb (need theology), Robert McGee (codependency/Rapha Treatment Centers), and Frank Minirth and Paul Meier (Freudian/M&M New Life Clinics); charismatic E.V. Hill; and former Southern Baptist Convention president Adrian Rodgers. (Reported in the 1/15/95, Calvary Contender.)
- Both Stuart & Jill Briscoe endorsed Gary Collins' 1992 psychobabble book, You Can Make a Difference: "All lives do make a difference. Gary Collins shows how to make the difference positive."
- Jill Briscoe served as women's prayer chairman for the 1979 Milwaukee Billy Graham Crusade. Stuart Briscoe served as the vice-chairman for the same crusade. Fundamentalists will recall that this was the Graham crusade where the Roman Catholics held a city-wide mass for the new "converts" gained from the Graham crusade! In addition, Jill Briscoe regularly speaks for Graham at the "Training Center at The Cove" in North Carolina; Briscoe was listed among the following neo-evangelicals and/or psychologizers as 1998 speakers: Joseph Stowell, James Montgomery Boice, David Jeremiah, Warren Wiersbe, Elisabeth Elliot, Anne Graham Lotz, Franklin Graham, Woodrow Kroll, Adrian Rogers, Buster Soaries, Larry Crabb, Stephen Hayner, Jay Kesler, and Bruce Wilkinson. (Source: 4/1/98, Calvary Contender.)
- Jill Briscoe is a member of the board of WEC, a missionary agency associated with the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (EFMA), an NAE affiliate organization. (Stuart Briscoe also serves of the WEC board.)
- Stuart Briscoe has endorsed the ministry of psychologizers David and Karen Mains (of Chapel
of the Air fame). He has not only endorsed the heavily psychologized 50-Day Spiritual
Adventure series (i.e., "Many people want to grow spiritually but need something to
give them a boost. The 50-Day Spiritual Adventure will do it."), he also hosted (in
1995) an "Adventure Pastor Training Orientation Conference" at Elmbrook Church.
- Jill Briscoe was a speaker at the 1989 missions conference at Grace Chapel, Lexington, Mass., along with Billy Kim and Ray Bakke. Grace Chapel is known as one of the leading neo-evangelical churches in New England. Billy Kim is a Southern Baptist preacher and a vice-president of the apostate Baptist World Alliance, an organization which has conducted "theological dialogue(s)" (on three occasions) with the Vatican Secretariat for promoting Christian Unity. (The theme of the third dialogue was "Our Common Testimony in the World.")
- Of the 20 full-time pastors at Elmbrook, the one working with college-age
people, started ministering with a pastor of a PCUSA church (NCC) in the inner-city, in
order to "heal racial differences." Answering concerns he stated: "Despite
our differences in doctrine, he is my brother in Christ since he calls Jesus Lord"
(11/96 letter on file).
- It would be an understatement to say that Stuart Briscoe is not too strong concerning the various charismatic errors that have infiltrated the professing fundamentalist church today. He and wife, Jill, have maintained a column in Robert Walker's charismatic Christian Life magazine, seeing nothing wrong with such an association and example.
- Lee Strobel, while a pastor on the staff of church growth guru Bill Hybels' Willow Creek
Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois (he is now a pastor at Rick
Warren's Saddleback Valley Community Church), authored a number of heretical
books, one being a 1993 book titled Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry & Mary: How
to Reach Friends and Family Who Avoid God and the Church. The book is endorsed in its
Foreword by Bill Hybels, and on the jacket is endorsed/recommended by thirteen even more
neo-evangelical psychologizers, including Max Lucado, Tony Campolo, Howard Hendricks, Stuart
Briscoe, C. Peter Wagner, Joseph Stowell, Elmer Towns, Bill Bright, and Gary Collins. In this
book, Strobel makes it clear that he was drawn to Hybels' church, not by the message of
truth, but by the music of the world. After he found himself comfortable with the music
and modern style of worship, he simply reasoned his way to a conversion experience.
Strobel is completely geared to a needs based religion. His purpose is to meet
man's needs, based on his own perception, rather than honoring man's obligation to worship
and glorify God. Strobel's purpose is to find out what works, and not to find out what is
Biblical. His purpose is to please lost, unregenerate men, and not to please God. To
read Strobel's book (and by nature of endorsement, Stuart Briscoe's thoughts also)
you come up with the idea that the problem with people is that they are simply
To the contrary, they need to be seen as lost and in need of a Savior. (Source: 1/96, Plains
Baptist Challenger, pp. 5-7.)