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The Emerging Church

Archived: 2004-2007 (More recent links)

See Emerging "Christianity" - Part 1: Breaking Out of the box | Part 2: From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

See also The Postmodern Church & The Changing Church & Purpose-Driven Church

Definition: (Encyclopedia): "a label that has been used to refer to a particular subset of Christians who are rethinking Christianity against the backdrop of Postmodernism.... Emerging Church groups have typically contained some or all of the following elements:

Peter Drucker: "Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation.... Within a few short decades, society rearranges itself--it's worldview; its basic values: its social and political structures; its arts; its key institutions. Fifty years later, there is a new world. And the people born then cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived.... We are currently living through just such a transformation. It is creating the post-capitalist society.... " The Post Capitalist Society, 1993; page 1.

More on the Emerging Church: A New Kind of Christian & Chart: Postmodernity


December 2008

Yahweh Yoga and the Faithful Flow: "I’ll bet you didn’t know that Christians can pray better standing on their heads." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

What Cizik's Resignation Means for Creation Care: "Conservative evangelicals who saw environmentalism as alarmism welcomed Richard Cizik's resignation as the National Association of Evangelicals' Washington lobbyist.... But evangelicals and scientists who had been working on 'creation care' for several years saw it as a blow to their efforts. More than 50 evangelicals... sent a letter to the NAE President Leith Anderson this morning, signaling their support for Cizik's efforts....'" See God's plan for the care of His creation

Not even the most persuasive teacher can change the hearts of a people through welfare, AIDS-programs, sophisticated leadership-training or other humanitarian projects. Only the true gospel -- made alive by the Holy Spirit -- can bring new life to a broken people.

October 2008

The New Look of Christian Missions: "Emerging spirituality is changing the way missions is being conducted. The idea is that you can go for Jesus, but you don't have to identify yourself as a Christian or part of the Christian church. This concept spills over into some missionary societies too, where they teach people from other religions they can keep their religion, just add Jesus to the equation...." See God's Way versus our ways

September 2008

New Emerging Network From the Frying Pan into the Fire: "To reach its objectives, Lausanne has turned to Rick Warren, who will be at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in South Africa in 2010.... To see where Rick Warren stands on the contemplative issue, one only needs to look as far as Warren's list of recommended spiritual resources....

     "Leighton Ford... is also helping to bring about the goals of Lausanne. Ford came out of the contemplative closet with his recent book, The Attentive Life: Discerning God's Presence in All Things. The book offers a collection of quotes by and references to some of the most prolific eastern-style meditation teachers, including.... priest Alan Jones (Reimagining Christianity) ... [and] Steindl-Rast who suggested that the Gospel 'gets in the way' between Christian and Buddhist dialogue.
      "Jay Gary is a link in this emerging shift that should not be ignored. Today, he is a member of and a speaker for the World Future Society where New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard is on the 'Global Advisory Council.' Interestingly.... Brian McLaren talks about Jay Gary in McLaren's own book, The Secret Message of Jesus." See Who defines the Kingdom of God?

September 2008

They Say the Emerging Church is Dead The Truth Behind the Story: "The writer of the Christianity Today article proclaims: 'It seems my informant's prophetic word has come to pass. The emerging church is dead -- at least in nomenclature, if not in spirit.' But nothing could be further from the truth. And just as there has been a concerted effort by top New Age leaders over the last decade or so to drop the term 'New Age' because of its negative exposure, so too emerging church leaders want to drop the name of their movement, and for the very same reason the New Agers are running from their term...."

"New Age Sympathizer Leonard Sweet to Speak at Seventh Day Adventist Conference: "Leonard Sweet, who promotes mysticism, christ-consciousness, and the 'New Lights' movement that touts people like Matthew Fox, Ken Wilber, and other mystic proponents, recently spoke at Rick Warren's Small Groups Conference. Sweet states in his book Quantum Spirituality that the 'power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people 'in-phase' with the Christ consciousness (meaning the divinity of man) and connected with one another (meaning interspirituality)." See Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan & UN Goals - Part 1 of 3 '

August 2008

Green Like Envy: An Ex-pagan Looks at Blue Like Jazz: "A phenomenon in evangelical circles, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller has sold over 800,000 copies and made the New York Times bestseller list since its publication by Thomas Nelson Publishers in 2003, and its popularity continues to grow. An icon in the burgeoning Emergent Church movement, it attracts countless youth in contemporary Christian culture. Seminarians nationwide are reading it avidly, and some Christian ministries and pastors are even using it to evangelize. Why? And what does that popularity reveal about evangelicalism today?" See Human Nature and Who defines the Kingdom of God?  

The Emerging (Global) Church. Bridging the Gap Between Good and Evil: "The serpent's temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden, that we can be like God, remains with mankind to this very day. Satan's plan is to lessen or eliminate (he hopes) the gap between himself and God....

     "'...Satan is not simply trying to draw people to the dark side of a good versus evil conflict. Actually, he is trying to eradicate the gap between himself and God, between good and evil, altogether. When we understand this approach it helps us see why Thomas Merton said everyone is already united with God or why Jack Canfield said he felt God flowing through all things. All means all -- nothing left out. Such reasoning implies that God has given His glory to all of creation; since Satan is part of creation, then he too shares in this glory, and thus is 'like the Most High.'" See From Truth to a "New Spirituality"

July 2008

The Shack's Wayne Jacobsen Resonates with Contemplative/Emerging Writers: "William Paul Young is the official author of The Shack, but Wayne Jacobsen is one of its editors. According to a New York Times article, Jacobsen spent 16 months helping to rewrite the first draft....

     "The book refers to God as 'the ground of all being' that 'dwells in, around, and through all things -- ultimately emerging as the real' (p. 112) -- this is the ripe fruit of contemplative spirituality.... This description of God ... means that God is the essence of all that exists.... New Age sympathizer, Sue Monk Kidd, would agree with The Shack's definition of God -- in her book, First Light, she says God is the graffiti on the building...."

June 2008

 How "Everything Must Change": "I sat through session after session listening to the emergent 'gospel;' complete with medieval chants and choruses of despair, apologies to the Native American Indians of the St. Joseph River Valley, as well as to 'Mother Earth' for scarring her through our mining and oil drilling operations. The sarcasm with which traditional Scriptural positions were discussed, coupled with repeated swipes at Christians who were (in McLaren’s opinion) waiting to be 'snatched away,' 'evacuated,' or 'beamed up,' brought one particular Scripture passage constantly to my heart and mind...." See A Twist of Faith - Chapter 6 and An Evangelical Manifesto for an Interfaith World

May 2008

MacArthur interview: The Emergent Church is a Form of Paganism: "Paul Edwards: '...whenever people like you who are standing for truth point out the error both in the emergent church and in the seeker movement people will immediately run to 1 Corinthians 9 and begin screaming, 'You know Paul said, ‘I became all things to all men,’ which means to the grunge I become as grunge, to the Universalist I become as a Universalist.' But in 1 Corinthians 9 Paul isn’t saying that we compromise the message and we become whatever the audience needs us to be in order to make the gospel palatable.

      "MacArthur: ... 'All he is saying is there’s a foundation in the proclamation of the gospel with the Jew and there’s a different starting point with the Gentile. If I’m going to evangelize a Jew, I’m going to start with the Old Testament because that’s the substantial basis.... Every time he evangelized Gentiles he started with creation.... It’s not about identifying with their lifestyle; it’s not about being able to converse about... every R-rated movie and every Rap song..." See Evangelism

 

 

In the Name of Purpose -- 'One God,” Many Paths: "At the BWA [Baptist World Alliance]’s Centenary Congress, where the recurrent theme was “unity, unity, unity,”13 the following statements were made by Jimmy Carter and Rick Warren: 'One of the world’s most prominent Baptists, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, said the desire for oneness is a powerful force for global good. Differences of belief -- even among Muslims, Jews and Christians -- are outweighed by a common commitment ‘to truth…’ Carter said.'....    

      '“I don’t see many people interested in Christendom. But I see a lot of people interested in God.' —Rick Warren."

April 2008

MacArthur: The Emergent Church is a Form of Paganism: "John MacArthur: Let me just cut to the chase on this one: [Doug] Pagitt is a Universalist. What he was saying is real simple. He was saying when you die your spirit goes to God and judgment means that whatever was not right about you, whatever was bad about you, whatever was substantially lacking about you, gets all resolved. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Buddhist, a Hindu or a Muslim—doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian really; we’re all going to end up in this wonderful, warm and fuzzy relationship with God. That’s just classic universalism....

      "He’s not a pastor; he’s not a Christian; that’s not a church. When you call yourself a Christian and you call yourself a pastor and you say you have a church, all of that has to be—to be legitimate—defined biblically.... What you have here is a form of false religion.… But the underlying bottom line of this whole emerging movement is they don’t believe in any doctrine, they don’t believe in any theology. They don’t want to be forced to interpret anything in scripture a certain way and the out is, 'Well the Bible isn’t clear anyway.' In other words, we don’t know what it means; we can’t know what it means. Brian McLaren says nobody has ever gotten it right...."

     McLaren is wrong. The Holy Spirit reveals the true power and wonder of God's Word to those who truly seek Him: 

     "'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit." 1 Corinthian 2:9-10
    
Jesus said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes." Matthew 11:25

 

Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell and the Seeds of Compassion: "Doug Pagitt, a leading spokesman for the Emergent Church, informs us about the upcoming Seeds of The Global Family, oops, Compassion Event: The event features The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.... Seeds of Compassion is: An unprecedented gathering to engage the hearts and minds of our community by highlighting the vision, science, and programs of early social, emotional, and cognitive learning. Anchored by the deep wisdom of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, this community – focused event will celebrate and explore the relationships, programs and tools that nurture and empower children, families and communities to be compassionate members of society.....

      "And what is some of this supposed 'deep wisdom' Guru Lama had for the Global Family: Why, the 'religion' of the self—'as the Dalai Lama also said, ‘This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.’” See The Rising World Religion

March 2008

Brian McLaren to speak at World Future Society: "Also listed on this year's conference program is evangelical leader Jay Gary, who has longtime associations with the World Future Society.... Jay Gary and Brian McLaren have both been actively eschewing "doomsday" eschatologies....

     "McLaren writes disparagingly of biblical prophecy, using extremely incendiary language and distortions: 'The Jesus of one reading of the Apocalypse brings us to a grim resignation: the world will get worse and worse, and finally this jihadist Jesus will return to use force, domination, violence, and even torture -- the ultimate imperial tools -- to vanquish evil and bring peace." See Ambassadors for Peace

 

“The Fall of the Evangelical Nation” Endorsed by Brian McLaren: “The author, Christine Wicker, seems to have something of a taste for the occult and paranormal. Her previous two books are Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead, and Not in Kansas Anymore: A Curious Tale of How Magic is Transforming America. Now she has taken it upon herself to announce the demise of evangelicalism. This is how the book is being promoted by Harper One.

    "'Evangelical Christianity is dying. The great evangelical movements of today are not a vanguard; they are a remnant, unraveling at every edge. Conversions. Baptism. Membership...  All are down and dropping.... Wicker takes us deep inside this crumbling pillar of the Religious Right..'

     "This author appears to be making some pretty bold statements, and it will be most interesting to see her data...." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

 

Hold the hellfire and brimstone: "A friend showed me an interesting cartoon that appeared in USA Today bearing a caption that read: 'Study shows nearly half of U.S. adults have switched or dropped their religions,' which included a pensive couple standing in line at the U.S. Religious Beliefs Cafeteria, where customers can pick and choose their favorite doctrines and commandments from the sacred buffet. Pointing to one of the selections, the male character in the drawing tells the server behind the counter: 'I'll take that with a little less hellfire and brimstone.'...

      "When mama handed me a plate of food, I was expected to eat it - all of it. If I said I didn't like something, I got an extra helping of it. Consequently, I grew up consuming a lot of things I didn't particularly care for, and in the process, digested some nutritious lessons on life - most important being: What you like, isn't necessarily what you need....

     "Could that be why so many spiritually starving mega-churches today have a fat and sassy feel to them - because members are getting everything they want and nothing they need?" See God's unchanging Word

Unraveling emergent: "Churches within the emerging community are committed to God in the way of Jesus. ...The emerging church is helping to articulate the call for Christianity to go beyond mere belief in commands and into a life that’s in rhythm with God. The Kingdom of God is a central conversation in emerging communities.... And let me tell you 'Kingdom of God' language is really big in the emerging church." See Who defines the Kingdom of God? and The true Kingdom of God

February 2008

Williams 'shocked' at Sharia row: "The Archbishop of Canterbury is said to be overwhelmed by the 'hostility of the response' after his call for parts of Sharia law to be recognised in the UK.... Among those critical of the archbishop is... the Reverend Rod Thomas. [His statement may be a little confusing, but it's important:] 'The moral values that we pursue are ones that we need to know are clearly grounded, and it would be most helpful for the leader of the Church to be able to explain to people how the values we cherish stem from our Christian tradition.'" Our beliefs and values do need to be "clearly grounded" in God's Word, but even His Word is becoming increasingly fuzzy these days. See the the next three links:

 

Lausanne World Pulse - Fresh Expressions of Church in England (Go to page 2): “A fresh expression is a form of church for our changing culture established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church. First, it will come into being through principles of listening, service, incarnational mission and making disciples. Second, it will have the potential to become a mature expression of church shaped by the gospel and the enduring marks of the church and for its cultural context." See the next link -- from page 3 of the same article:

 

Fresh Expressions of Church in England, page 3: "Incarnational mission is mission after the pattern and in the style of Jesus.... Nor do they have in mind a particular set pattern of what a fresh expression will look like. It is more like a journey that begins with listening to the context [not to God's Word] and the wider community. It continues with loving service. As people listen and serve, new communities where people come to faith are formed. Only later does worship begin. The key elements are ... incarnational mission... and a sense of journey, growth and development.'...

     "Our society is now changing at such a rate that this kind of fresh expression of church has moved from being highly desirable to vitally important if we are to connect with more of our culture.... We have not, in recent years, been very good at two key areas of theology—missiology and ecclesiology—that are vital to understanding fresh expressions of church." See The Dopamine-Driven Church

January 2008

Deep Shift presenting [Brian McLaren's] Everything Must Change Tour: "Something’s Going On. I feel it when... I read their emails or letters, and see statements like these… • I’ve never felt like I fit in the traditional church. • I love Jesus, but I’m not too excited about Christianity.... • I’m not religious, and I’m not that sure what 'spiritual' means - but I’m looking for something, some way of life or pattern that makes sense of things. • I used to be a pastor (or youth pastor, or church leader, or active church attender) but something stopped working.... We Are In Deep Shift." See Don't Be Deceived!


December 2007

 What is "Rethinking"? "In his... article entitled, "'Oprah and Friends' To Teach Course on New Age Christ," former New Age follower Warren Smith warned that a false Christ teaches a Course in Miracles using the methods of 'mind training' and 'thought reversal.'...

    "As we thumbed through A Course in Miracles, we noticed that it physically resembles a Bible. It is printed on fine-quality paper and is divided into chapters and verses. There is a hefty Concordance of 1106 pages that contains references to these 'verses.' It is very seductive, in that it uses biblical terms and phrases repeatedly. But intermixed throughout is pure New Age occultism....

    "In the end, the Course pupil will readily believe that 'Christ takes many forms with different names' and agree that we are all 'co-creators' . In fact... there is a startling doctrinal similarity between the messages found in A Course in Miracles and the new theologies of the Emergent/Emerging church movement.... Furthermore, the evangelical world has largely borrowed these same same psycho-spiritual techniques of rethinking, with the same result that many are now embracing new doctrines.... It is no wonder that Robert Schuller can sponsor a Rethink Conference at his Crystal Cathedral and invite big names from the evangelical world to attend." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

November 2007

Doug Pagitt mocking J. MacArthur [Video]: "Listen to ‘Pastor’ Doug Pagitt in this clip as he mocks and apologizes for Pastor John MacArthur’s Biblical position on Yoga."

    Be sure to continue into the second part where Pagitt shows his disdain for Biblical Christianity during a brief conversation with the woman behind the movie camera: 

    Pagitt, sounding incredulous: "It's just so weird, isn't it, to hear people say stuff like that -- what he is saying?"
   
The woman: "That's the stuff right there that keeps younger people from going to church.... Everything is so black and white... are you kidding me?...
   
Pagitt laughs sarcastically: "If you want to relieve stress just go to the world of God... O my goodness.... I apologize for him!" See also Yoga and Mysticism

 

Rethinking Culture: "New Age leaders have their own plan for building a kingdom, and they have their own 'God' and their own 'Christ.'' These New Theosophists have been working on 'rethinking' for decades, especially since Marilyn Ferguson issued their basic thesis that 'A new world, as the mystics have always said, is a new mind.' (The Aquarian Conspiracy) In chapter 1 of her landmark book...

      "Ferguson included an interesting subheading entitled 'Seeing the Emergent Culture' which claimed, 'We will construct bridges between the old and new worlds.'  Describing this process, she explains how various projects and people will 'serve as illustrations' as 'bits of a great mosaic, an overwhelming new direction of human effort and the human spirit at this point in history.'"

 

Evangelicals Embrace New Future: "This 'Continuing Consultation on Future Evangelical Concerns'... brought in a leading New Age Theosophist, Willis W. Harman.... It became a launching pad for bringing the New Age Movement into the evangelical church. ... [I]n order to escape potential persecution or rejection -- which might have happened if evangelicals had boldly proclaimed God's prophetic future... -- these evangelical leaders chose to embrace an alternative worldview...." See Transformation of the Church and Mysticism & Global Mind Change

October 2007

Rick Warren's latest "P" - Promote Reconciliation: "The 'P' in Rick Warren's Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan has changed once again. [At first, it was "Plant churches]. It now means 'Promote reconciliation'....'Reconciliation' is an interesting choice of words....

      "Brian McLaren includes a quotation in his 2006 book The Secret Message of Jesus, which seems to tie all of this together: 'The radical revolutionary empire of God is here, advancing by reconciliation and peace.... It's time to change your thinking. Everything is about to change.... He describes the shed blood of Christ as achieving 'lasting reconciliation between humanity and God,' but then goes a step further to apply it to 'all the at-odds individuals and groups that comprise humanity.' ...'Christians with Jews and Muslims and Hindus...." See Biblical Oneness

September 2007

Children of the Inklings -- Emergent “Christian” Fiction: "In recent years, fiction aimed at Christians has exploded in the marketplace.... Saint by Ted Dekker (Thomas Nelson, 2006), and Relentless (2006) and Fearless (2007) by Robin Parrish (Bethany House) are three popular novels promoted by houses considered major publishers for the Christian market. Dekker’s influence is enormous. Recently he reached the million mark in sales.... Yet you won’t find the Gospel or a Christian worldview in Saint or Parrish’s books; instead their fictional worlds are drenched with dark fantasy, conflicts of supernatural forces, and the promotion of imagination as a conduit to special powers."

 

Yoga, Mysticism & Moody Bible Institute: "While many Christians think that yoga is ok if it is just practiced as a physical exercise omitting the spiritual aspects, even Hindu yoga masters say that you cannot separate the two. In one article titled 'There is No Christian Yoga' by Hindu Yogi Baba Prem, Vedavisharada... he states:

     "'It was quite astonishing to see on the flyer 'Christian Yoga! This Thursday night....' I could feel the wheels spinning in my brain. 'Christian Yoga,' I thought. Now while Christians can practice yoga, I am not aware of any Christian teachings about yoga. Yoga is not a Judeo/Christian word! It is... certainly not a part of protestant teachings.... It is a Hindu word, or more correctly a Sanskrit word from the Vedic civilization. So how did we get 'Christian Yoga'?" See Biblical versus pagan meditation

August 2007

Archbishop's debate in nightclub: "Barry Morgan accepted an invitation from Solace, the 'church in a bar, to talk to young clubbers.... Sunday night's discussion, called 'Is Religion Bad?', was examining religion's role and effects in the world.... The organisation aims to use the social setting of a bar to interest young people in Christianity....

     Ms Sanderson, 30, known as Sister Wendy in the Church Army... began her work offering spiritual support to clubbers four years ago. Before the debate, Dr Morgan said: 'Solace offers a great alternative for those looking to combine a fun night out with stimulating chat in a responsible atmosphere.... And I'll try not to complain too much about the loud music." See Breaking Out of the Box

Redemptive Analogies: "This is the idea that God put a 'good deposit' of 'truth' in other cultures, analogous to something in Scriptures which could be redeemed for Gospel purposes....  [I]t was first sold to the missionaries as a way to make the Gospel more relevant in hard-to-reach cultures. A read of the early literature on the topic reveals that the concept was quite seductive, promising a new and more effective way of witnessing.... The underlying philosophy is, as Green articulated it, that "all truth is God's truth." These Scriptures show us the true Redemption:

July 2007

Redeeming Cultures: "...the 'cultural mandate' to 'redeem cultures' (or whatever other terminology is used) is a re-work of the old Social Gospel movement of the 20th Century. The banner carriers back in that era were the liberal mainline churches.

     "The banner carriers for our time are the leaders from all stripes and shades of Dominionism, waving various versions of 'take back the culture' or 'redeem the culture' causes. Learning from the past, today's neo-evangelical leaders have maintained all the trappings of 'evangelism' so that it appears (at least superficially) as if conversion from sin is the focus. All of this has collectively been lumped under the new term 'evangelization.'" See Redeeming culture

 

Awana Embraces Contemplative Spirituality: "While Awana's decision to include Ken Blanchard's materials into their program is enough evidence to show that the organization is quickly changing, we must now report that there is something even more devastating with regard to Awana and their slide into apostasy.... 

     "The book is titled, Perspectives on Children's Spiritual Formation. A description of the book is as follows: 'In children's ministry, models, methods, and materials abound. How do you decide what direction you want your ministry to children to take? Perspectives on Children's Spiritual Formation allows you to examine the four prominent points-of-view in the church today....' The book offers four different views on how to transform children." See Biblical versus Postmodern Thinking

 

Deep Church: "For some of us in the UK, the notion of ‘Deep Church,’ a phrase coined by C.S.Lewis, is providing a mood to direct our reflections and actions to that end. It maybe finds it conjunctive resonance outside the UK in the ‘Deep Ecclessiology’ articulated and lived by Brian McLaren.... Deep Church hopefully values and affirms the many streams of what the Spirit is doing with the church in our times."

     Might this postmodern transformation be driven by "deceiving spirits" rather than by the Holy Spirit?See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival and Who defines the Kingdom of God?

June 2007

Christian Schools Introducing Teens to Mysticism Proponent: "Rob Bell (a strong proponent of mysticism, i.e., contemplative)... is pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church and the author of Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith. Christian schools and youth groups are presenting the Nooma films to their youth, and many of these groups are having teens read Velvet Elvis. Because Bell promotes and teaches New Age mystical practices in a Christian context, young people may accept these teachings as biblical Christianity. And when trusted teachers are presenting this material, both teens and parents alike may be caught off guard." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

 

For Many Shall Come in My Name: "Prior to the late l960s, occultism in America was relatively obscure and considered an eccentric pursuit. If such ideas were discussed in public, the person expressing them would have been considered peculiar. The l960s changed all that.... I remember once having a conversation with an elderly lady who had been involved with occultism all of her life. She recounted to me how New Age thought 'hadn’t really gotten anywhere until the hippies came along, then things really started to get off the ground.'" See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival and Yuri Bezmenov [former KGB] on demoralization

 

Jesus Died for 'Climate Change'? "...McLaren spoke at a homiletics festival in Tennessee (homiletics is the art of preaching).... In McLaren's view, sermons about doctrine, sin, and salvation through Jesus alone create factions and should be replaced with messages about global issues. ... Brian McLaren... said many television and radio evangelists had delivered to their listeners the kind of fear-mongering and finger-pointing messages that promote factionalism. ...[He] proposed that preaching should remedy, rather than incite, controversial issues. These include poverty and climate change, and he encouraged his audience not to shy away from such global issues. 'We can't really afford to waste too many Sundays with so much at stake.' (Source)

    "Did you catch the part about wasting Sundays? Since when is preaching on a Biblical passage or Christian doctrine, or proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus for sinners a 'wasted Sunday'?" See Transforming the World by Subverting the Church

 

Inner Metro Green--Investigate the Faith: "Our hope is grounded in the sacred promise of authentic personal lives, and beyond even that, an authentic world. Our shared love is redeemed by Christ; it is patient and kind. Our joy is authentic, and more than slightly contagious too! Transformation - individually and socially - is everything!" Just what is his vision of this all-important social transformation?

May 2007

Emergent Manifesto -- Emerging Church Comes Out of the Closet: "This new collective spirituality leads people into a socialistic community where rituals, practices, and social justice become a means of salvation, but not the salvation you think of in a personal sense of being born-again through Jesus Christ. This is a collective salvation that includes whole cultures and communities who follow the way of someone referred to as Jesus."

 

NOT Your Grandma’s Church: "'We’re NOT your Grandma’s church!' proclaims one website. 'We feature strobing lights, heart-thumping music, and dangerous messages.'...

     "At a time when even church growth poster boy, George Barna, is publishing alarming press releases about the 'Laodicean' state of the church, perhaps it’s a good idea to explore what ejecting Grandma from the premises of the local church has accomplished. Is it possible that the gray heads found in wisdom know some things that the new breed of pastor and church member do not? That answer to that question is, yes....

     "Grandma knows that you don’t treat precious spiritual gems like marbles and play with them. That’s why she believes music about God should be holy and reverent and not sound like something off the pop station....

     "The worst of the spiritual blindness in our churches today is that we are looking at ruins and don’t even see it. When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" See Emerging "Christianity" & Re-Branding Christianity

 

Re-Branding Christianity: "Emergent is a marketing campaign in and of itself. It is a re-branding campaign that is repackaging Christianity into a kaleidoscope of ever-fluctuating mystical images while 'we're seeking to align our wills with God's will, our dreams with God's dream.' ... McLaren’s definition of repentance, for example, reads like the toothpaste commercial discussed in the previous post. If the old brand of repentance no longer whitens and brightens, switch over to the Emergent brand. It promises that new zing in life. The image of repentance, according to McLaren, means 'rethinking everything in light of the secret message' of Jesus."

 

Church Army evangelists challenge church to re-think the way it engages with young people: "The book Young People and Mission gives an honest appraisal of how the Church relates to young people through worship and mission. ... The book also seeks to help young Christians understand other faiths and the implications of living as Christian in a multi-faith society.... 'We believe that mission is about seeing young people so touched by knowing God's love that they want to see His Kingdom come in the world. That is why injustice and poverty has a chapter alongside chapters on equipping young people to share their faith." See Emerging "Christianity" - Part 1

 

Church Army evangelist in radio Mind Body Spirit Challenge: "Hollinghurst... is also a member of the team running the Christian 'Dekhomai' stand at the London Mind Body Spirit Festival, from which the programme takes its name. He says, 'I've been using Bible stories on a special deck of cards [imitating divination?] and the offer of prayer amongst today's spiritual seekers for a while. They both offer a powerful way for people who often would dismiss Christianity to experience its relevance to their lives. The opportunity to offer this on air as part of The Psychic Show is a real chance for this to be experienced by hundreds of thousands of listeners." 

      What kind of Christian "experience" is this?

 

In The Name of Purpose: Sacrificing Truth on the Altar of Unity: "Truth becomes the sacrifice:

  ● when absolutism is out, and relativism is in;

  ● when obedience is out, and pragmatism is in;

  ● when teaching is out, and dialogue is in;

  ● when thus saith the Lord is out, and consensus of opinion is in;

  ●   when using Scripture to judge right and wrong is out....

Unity with tolerance at all costs is in;

  ● when the narrow way is out, and the broad way is in."

April 2007

Church Army Evangelist Starts Church in a Night Club: "...there were no pews in sight, no stuffy sermon, or three-hundred year old songs in a form of English that is barely understandable -- instead guests sat at round tables with drinks in hand, chatting away as they listened to music. 'Who in their right mind wants to give up their Sunday mornings to listen to some bloke ramble on for half an hour, telling everyone what to think, without providing any opportunity for argument or questions?' the club church's website asks. 'We wanted to create a safe environment [safe from Biblical teaching?] where people could meet, somewhere they are familiar with already, where they can have fun and learn about God,' says Wendy."

       Do you wonder what they learn about God? The next link shows some of today's church leaders who endorsed this "fun" new Church Army:

 

The Emerging Church. What Church Leaders are saying about Mark Russell: "I am delighted that Mark has been appointed as Chief Executive of Church Army, and he has my prayers and best wishes as he takes on this key leadership role at such an important time.' Dr Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury....

      "'I welcome Mark's appointment for the wealth of experience he brings to this post and the exuberance with which I believe he will express this through his faith into new and creative Christian mission initiatives. Grassroots peace-making, legal study, church and political networking and productive youth ministry experience all suggest to me an ideal pedigree for leadership in an organisation eager to encourage 'fresh expressions' of church....' Rt Revd Nicholas Reade Bishop of Blackburn ...

     "'I strongly endorse and support this appointment.' Roy Crowne National Director, Youth For Christ." See Biblical versus Postmodern Thinking

March 2007

Hollywood goes to church: "Have you noticed that a rush to relevance has become the driving agenda in most churches today? - Not preaching repentance, faith or obedience to God's Word - all the things that Jesus demanded of His followers - only a never-ending quest to be relevant to the culture - something the Lord never taught.... Unfortunately, when we bond with the enemies of Christ, we betray Him - having first tolerated, then accepted and ultimately embraced the unscriptural standards, ideals and agendas of those to which we have willingly yoked ourselves." See Don't conform to the world & Creating Community

 

Beer and the Bible: "St. Louis congregation focuses on 20- and 30-somethings and is anything but traditional.... In a back room at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood, about 50 people gathered on a recent Wednesday night to talk rock ’n’ roll.... It was a conversation perfectly suited to the setting. Beer-stained wooden tables and the smell of hops complemented a free-flowing, spirited debate among hip young people in scruffy beards and T-shirts. In 2007, this is church." See A New Kind of Christian

 

They like Jesus, but not the Church: "Dan Kimball's new book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church, should really be called They Like (Another) Jesus But Not the Church, the Bible, Morality, or the Truth.... Kimball says these are 'exciting times' we live in when Jesus is becoming more and more respected in our culture by non-churchgoing people'. He says we should 'be out listening to what non-Christians, especially those in their late teens to thirties, are saying and thinking about the church and Christianity." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival


December 2006

Christian or "Christ Follower": "...often the latter term, Christ follower, is replacing the former term, Christian. Even many Christian leaders are making the switch. But just what does it mean? Emerging church leader, Erwin McManus says his "goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ." In McManus' book, The Barbarian Way, he talks about being "awakened" to a "primal longing that ... waits to be unleashed within everyone who is a follower of Jesus Christ." McManus says that the "greatest enemy to the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity [i.e., Christians].".... See A New Kind of Christian

October 2006

Prophetic Imagination: [A liberal "eco-justice" review of Walter Brueggemann's The Prophetic Imagination, which someone sent us]: "The prophetic imagination is transformative when it allows us to believe that it is possible to live in sustainable, harmonious relationships with all of God's creation.... As clergy and church leaders, an essential part of what we must do is exercise our imagination.... We don't need a blueprint with all of the details....

     'If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.' -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery."

     Does that irrational thinking remind you of the popular old musical, "The Music Man?" In it, the children suddenly learned to play their band instruments through positive thinking, not through music lessons or practice. See Emerging "Christianity" - Part 1: Breaking Out of the box

September

The Truths and Misconceptions of worship hula: "Worship Hula is praising and worshiping God through hula dance. We combine the hula with Christian based songs.

    Q. Wasn't Hula used to worship other Gods? [It still is in Hawaii!] A. The hula is nothing more than a form of dance. It is the native dance of the Hawaiian people. Like other forms of dancing, it can be used to worship any other god, idol, things of the world, or Our Lord God.... It is a dance given to the Hawaiian people for the sole purpose of worshiping the Lord.....

    Q. Is Worship Hula being used in Church services? A. Yes. Worship Hula is apart of many Church services through out the world....

    Q. Is traditional hula and worship hula the same? A. Yes and No. Yes in the fact that worship hula uses the basic steps of traditional hula. No in the fact that worship hula is not bound by the rules of traditional hula. It is bound by the freedom in Christ! We dance to satisfy and give praise and worship to God." See Idols and unholy gods and the next link:

 

The Emerging Church.  The Truth and Misconceptions About Hula Worship: "Today, there are all types of styles of worship... cowboy churches have country western style music; there's the whole 'passion' movement style of worship; and did you know, there's an association for hula worship?! I thought it was a little 'different' when I saw Saddleback offered a hula worship some time ago; but I had no idea that this is it's own kind of 'movement'." See The Rising World Religion

August 2006

Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel: "I describe Jim Ballard’s experience because, like my own, it is a graphic example of how so many of us were supernaturally drawn into the eastern mystical teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality.... The Foreword to his 2002 book Mind Like Water was written by Ken Blanchard

     "...as the co-founder of the Lead Like Jesus organization, Blanchard was already 'working together' with Saddleback pastor Rick Warren in implementing what the pastor was calling God’s 'Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan.' Blanchard was to help Rick Warren train countless numbers of people around the world to be 'servant leaders' who would 'lead like Jesus.' ... The obvious question suddenly became 'What Jesus are we talking about here—the Bible’s Jesus or the New Age Jesus?' See Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan and UN Goals - Part 2 and Don't Be Deceived!

Meditation and Contemplative Prayer: Test the Spirits: "For most of us in the New Age, meditation was an integral part of daily life. Because it was so relaxing and felt so good we had no idea that our meditations were opening us up to great deception. Looking back on it now, meditation was the major pipeline through which deceptive spirits impressed upon us their New Age thoughts and teachings. The spiritual 'high' that often accompanied our meditations and contemplations seemed to corroborate our emerging New Age belief that we were all 'one' because God was 'in' everyone and everything. In fact, in my very first meditation I experienced a 'mysterious sense of oneness' that I perceived to be my 'divine connection' to that oneness.” See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

Found: God's Will - PART 2: "Many Christians fall into the same trap as the cults and New Agers. Their trust is placed in subjective experiences rather than the objective Truth of Scripture. For cultural Christians, it’s not about knowing God; it’s about experiencing God. For many believers, feelings and experiences are what matters most.... 'Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will' "(Romans 12:1, 2)." See God's will & Emerging "Christianity"

July 2006

American Bible Society Goes Emergent: "The American Bible Society, an organization that has been around for nearly 200 years, has been respected and trusted by millions. However... ABS' online ministry 'For Ministry' is promoting the emerging church [including Brian McLaren] and contemplative spirituality, and in no small way.... The 'For Ministry' authentic church resource database is very extensive and links to many articles and books that not only promote and link to contemplative and emerging but also to New Age references such as an article called the 'Future is Now,' which discusses futurist and New Age sympathizer Leonard Sweet." [This reference seem to have been deleted by now] See Emerging "Christianity" - Part 1: Breaking Out of the box

Cornerstone Organizer Responds to Slice Article: Now about the Halloween decorations, the Day of the Dead activity, etc: You make a good point. It's one thing to examine these things, to talk about them, but another thing to hop right into them and put them into practice. But let's be clear. The folks organizing the Imaginarium, including myself, and the speakers, including Gretchen Passantino-Coburn and John Morehead, had all come to the conclusion that you can't slap a sticker saying 'Demonic!' on every single spooky thing or every aspect of these festivals that show up in our culture and down in Mexico." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

The Play's the Thing At Pittsburgh Church Targeting New Crowd: "No one preaches at Hot Metal Bridge. Plays are its liturgy. Mr. Walker, a soon-to-be ordained United Methodist minister, leads the church with his friend Jeff Eddings, a Presbyterian seminarian. 'Instead of coming to our church and listening to a sermon, you can be part of the sermon,' Mr. Walker says....

    "Hot Metal Bridge is part of the emergent church movement that rejects rigid orthodoxy and strives to use hip language and culture to draw in young Americans who stopped, or never started, attending church. Some ministries have sprung up around a central interest, such as yoga." See Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats & From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

 

'Days of the Dead' at Cornerstone 'Christian' Youth Camp: "We were greeted by a hard rock “Christian” singer who wore a t-shirt reading, “Kill it before it kills you,” right inside the gate. We had never seen so many teenagers dressed in black in our lives, nor had we ever seen so many tattoos—all at a “Christian” camp.
     "We were taught that it is common among “saints” to levitate! We learned that Gandhi was more Christian than he knew. We were told how saints like St. Francis of Assisi experienced “miracles” from God such as levitations, and many saints had experienced levitations—it was a common practice among the saints."

June 2006

Pastor Chuck Smith Issues Recall Notice on Book, Discontinues Purpose Driven Materials: "Last week at Calvary Chapel's annual pastor's conference... Chuck Smith announced that Calvary Chapel was rejecting various movements and practices.... This week a notice was placed on the Calvary Chapel Distribution website recalling Chuck Smith Sr's book, When Storms Come (which had been tampered with). The notice also stated: 'The teaching and positions of Rick Warren have come into conflict with us at Calvary Chapel. Pastor Chuck has directed us to discontinue this product effective immediately.'...

      "Both Purpose Driven and the emerging church promote contemplative spirituality... " See Emergent Delusion

 

The next Billy Graham? "[Rev. Rob] Bell's detractors have accused him of championing a postmodern fad, of relativizing Scripture, of elevating form above substance. 'When people say that the authority of Scripture or the centrality of Jesus is in question, actually it's their social, economic and political system that has been built in the name of Jesus that's being threatened,' Bell says.... [A way of diverting attention from the real issue: the distortion of God's Word]

       '"Zondervan also published his first book, Velvet Elvis, which has sold more than 100,000 copies since its release last summer. Bell recently completed the manuscript for Sex God, an exploration of faithful sexuality, his second book with Zondervan." See Zondervan--Anything For a Buck

 

Will the Next Billy Graham be a Mystic? "In a 2004 Christianity Today article titled Emergent Mystique, Bell (pastor of Mars Hill of Michigan) said, 'We're rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life.'

     " What does Bell mean by 'an Eastern religion'? It sounds a lot like Thomas Merton who, while he considered himself a Christian, said he was impregnated with Sufism (Islamic mysticism). As with most emergent and contemplative leaders, the Christianity of the Bible is not enough for them." See My Kingdom Come?

 

The Emerging Church - Part 2: "McLaren writes, 'Many of us have grown uneasy with this understanding of ‘the fall’.... We are suspicious that it has become a kind of Western Neo-Platonic invasive species that ravages the harmonious balance inherent in the enduring Jewish concepts of creation as God’s world.'....

          "McLaren does hold to the doctrine of inclusivism which teaches that while salvation has been made possible by Jesus Christ, it is not necessary to know who Jesus is or the precise nature of what He has done." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

May 2006

Da Vinci Opening the Canon of Worms: "There may be a reason that the false apostles and prophets are pressing for a return to the early church model. It is the best way in which to open the doors to Gnosticism. A recent article on Christianity Today suggests that the movie The Da Vinci Code exemplifies a greater agenda to dismantle and destroy the Canon of Scripture, i.e., the Bible." See From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival

April 2006

The Play's the Thing At Pittsburgh Church Targeting New Crowd: "No one preaches at Hot Metal Bridge. Plays are its liturgy. ... Hot Metal Bridge is part of the emergent church movement that rejects rigid orthodoxy and strives to use hip language and culture to draw in young Americans who stopped, or never started, attending church. Some ministries have sprung up around a central interest, such as yoga. One Minneapolis group attracts drummers....

     "'If the drama goes haywire, it's unimportant,' Mr. Eddings says. 'What's important is, who do I connect with on Sunday morning?' ...'I thought it was cool, a lot of parallels where God tries to help us and we stop him,' says Patrick Over, the Carnegie Mellon University student who portrays Judas. To get over his jitters, he has been studying the script and 'kind of praying about it.' 'Maybe I screw up a line or two,' he says. 'Hopefully God's character will come through.'" See The Rising World Religion

 

Churches reach out to hipper flock: "Ah, Easter morning, a time for families to dress up, go to church and watch 'The Matrix.'  Wait, that doesn't sound right. Ah, Easter Sunday, a time for reflection as you sidle up to the coffee bar in the middle of the sanctuary. Let's try that again. Ah, Easter....

     "Traditions are remarkably untraditional in Metro Detroit's growing 'postmodern' churches, which are successfully marketing themselves to young adults.... There are movie screens and coffee shops, performance artists and Led Zeppelin, all in facilities with names that sound more like nightclubs than houses of worship." See God's Way versus Our ways

 

Emerging 'Christianity' - Part 2: From Gnostic Roots to Occult Revival: "Alan Jones' quest for a 'higher form of knowing' is simply a new version of ancient Gnosticism and the mystical 'Jewish' Kabbalah. Starting in the first century, the two occult threads intermingled and formed new pathways to secret knowledge (gnosis). Those dark, mystical paths hid for centuries underground. Then, starting in the 12th century, Kabbalah began to sprout mystical 'brotherhoods' and secret societies that laid foundations for Alchemy, Theosophy (which would embrace Hinduism), Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism (these two incorporated Egyptian myths and symbols), the teachings of Swedenborg, Anthroposophy (Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield), and Hermetic magic."

 

The Emergence of Imaginary Eschatology: "Imagine a world where everything is getting better because God is still creating it. Imagine a world in which there is no more entropy (the principle of heat loss that means that everything left to its own heads toward disorder). Imagine a world where creative people are co-recreating the world with God. This imaginary world is the world as it exists in the minds of the leaders of the Emerging Church." See Breaking Out of the box

 

Richard Foster and the 'Be Still' DVD: (by Ray Yungen) "Merton... said he was impregnated with Sufism (Islamic mysticism) and said he wanted to become the best Buddhist he could be.... Foster says: 'Thomas Merton has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood. His interest in contemplation led him to investigate prayer forms in Eastern religion. Zen masters from Asia regarded him as the preeminent authority on their kind of prayer in the United States." A Twist of Faith, Chapter 2

March 2006

New Theology and the New Age Movement: "One illustration of the new (Neo-orthodox) theology... is that of a shopkeeper who keeps many things under the counter. When the old liberal comes in and asks for old fashioned liberalism (social gospel, etc.), the new theologian reaches under the counter and says, 'That is just what we have here.' When the evangelical Bible believing Christian comes in, the new theologian reaches under the counter and says, 'That is just what we have here.'

    "The new theology can do this because everything is in the non rational upper story and is mystical. To the new theologian, opposites can be true in some non-rational mystical way. This also makes Satan little more than an idea or myth, which is exactly how the humanist views non physical entities. Satan is very successful in convincing people that he doesn’t really exist."

 

Ancient Spiritual Wisdom Principles and Practices for Life: "DALLAS WILLARD is one of today's most insightful spiritual teachers.... He reveals how the practice of 'spiritual disciplines' affirms life to the fullest and is the key to self-transformation. ... He is a professor at the University of Southern California's School of Philosophy ...

     "JOHN BURKE asks the question, 'What do a Buddhist, a biker couple, a gay rights activist, a transient, a high-tech engineer, a Muslim, a twenty-something single mom, a Jew, an unmarried couple living together, and an atheist all have in common?' and then answers it, 'They are the future church in America!' ... He says the emerging church is an indigenous church, rising up out of the surrounding community and culture to form the Body of Christ. John is the visionary leader and founder of Gateway Community Church in Austin, Texas... the author of 'No Perfect People Allowed: Creating A COME AS YOU ARE Culture in the Church.'...

     "TONY JONES is a leader of, and major force within, what is called the Emerging Church or Emergent Church. ... Now as an academic and doctoral candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary and as National Coordinator for Emergent US, Tony sifts through texts from intervening centuries to find those early practices that formed Christ's followers. He says these practices will form the 'ancient-future' of the emerging church....

     "KEN LAMONT is a youth and family-life pastor who is exploring the intersection of the modern and emergent church movements in his teaching and ministry.... Ken received his doctorate in Family Ministries from Fuller Seminary."

February 2006

Darwining Down the Word: Emergent Pastor Erwin McManus and His Evolving Idea of the Church : “'My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ. Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.' – Erwin Raphael McManus....

     " McManus has endorsed a book promoting open theism, a theology which calls into question the sovereignty of God, denies His omniscience, and is gaining a foothold in many 'evangelical' seminaries today.... He refers to the pastor as 'the spiritual environmentalist' and claims 'For a species to survive and propagate in a given ecosystem,' there must be 'a balanced ecosystem'.... 'Every living system that is fruitful is required to adapt to the environment in which it has been placed. Species that thrive are species that adapt. Species that do not adapt to change do not survive because change is an ever-present reality.'"

     But the Church is not a forest or fish. We are God's people! See Don't conform to the ways of the world

 

Throwing Our Future Church Leaders to the Wolves: "Emergent leaders such as McManus, Leonard Sweet, Andy Crouch, Brian McLaren, and others are pushing liberal theology under the guise of 'postmodern' Christianity. The movement assails absolute truth, the inerrancy of Scripture and justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone, and instead embraces spiritual relativism and mysticism....  This 'New Kind of Christianity,' as McLaren calls it, is distorting the true gospel of Jesus Christ....

      " McManus was asked what advice he would give preachers.... He responded by saying, '...stop preaching sermons and start telling stories.... Break though the pressure to be a great preacher and become a great leader.' In other words, away with sound doctrine if it’s not culturally relevant or entertaining to your audience....

      " McManus endorsed Gregory Boyd’s book 'Is God to Blame...' Boyd argues that Almighty God suffers from self-imposed limits on His power." See The Emerging Global Church

January 2006

Jewish Emergent! "Synagogue 3000 has identified a contemporary Jewish religious phenomenon that it is calling Jewish Emergent. This week, S3K convened for the very first time the Working Group on Emergent Sacred Communities - visionary Jewish leaders committed to the establishment of transformative sacred communities unbound by conventional expectations about what a synagogue is 'supposed' to be.... This meeting of the Working Group on Emergent Sacred Communities also marked the first time ever that Emergent-US had met with any religious group outside the Christian faith." Rick Warren is pictured in this article. He is deeply involved in this transformation. See The Emerging Global Church

Yoga for Christians -- A Christ-Centered Approach to Physical and Spiritual Health: "...there are approximately 15 million people in this country practicing yoga, and fully 50-60 percent of them say they come from a church background. In fact, many churches, Christian retreats, and denominational conventions are incorporating yoga as one creative approach to cultivating a quiet, receptive spirit and deep prayer life." See The Rising World Religion  

 

How Leadership Network created the 'Emerging Church': "Emergent grew out of the Young Leader Networks, which was launched in the mid-90’s by Leadership Network, a Dallas-based foundation. Doug Pagitt, Chris Seay, Andrew Jones, Brad Smith, and others were involved before I was, and they did a great job of setting a tone and direction for the emergent conversation." See A New Kind of Christian & Chart: Postmodernity

 


November 2005

The Christian Hordes? "I can well attest to having gotten a large part of my spiritual diet from questionable and often heretical authors.... What that does is make a man the final arbiter of truth.....

     "It is evident from the contents of The Barbarian Way that McManus has a fascination for old Celtic lore.... From the beginning, this book emphasizes the 'barbarian way' of doing things.... >

     "It is crucial that we understand that barbarianism is a way of life and thought rooted in paganism.... The entire foundation of a barbarian’s life is a spiritual pagan worldview that worships the creature rather than the creator. It is a worldview steeped in false worship, violence and superstition, and is in no way compatible with biblical Christianity. The two are complete opposites." Human Nature

October 2005

Author Accuses Christian Publisher of Dabbling in 'New Age' Spirituality: "...the 2005 National Youth Workers Conference. ... is sponsored by Youth Specialties, a group that one Christian author says introduces students to labyrinth walks, yoga, and contemplative prayer practices....

     "'One of their goals, they say, is to know God first-hand as a living reality. That's why they're putting kids into contemplative prayer-type situations.... Nowhere in God's Word does it say that you take kids on Labyrinth walks, [or] that you introduce students to yoga or to contemplative prayer practices where you say a word over and over again to put yourself into what Youth Specialties says is a 'semi-conscious state,'" she [Cathy Mickels] states." See The Rising World Religion  

September 2005

Equipping Today's Church for Tomorrow's Challenges: "Bryan McLaren has emerged as one of the leading 'prophetic voices' calling us to consider how the church can remain faithful to Christ while being spiritually, socially and culturally relevant in a rapidly changing world. He is the author of A New Kind of Christian, Church in Emerging Culture and several others....

    "Bryan, Richard Twiss, Lakota/Sioux and a team of national First Nations spiritual leaders and 'thinkers' will bring fresh and insightful perspectives to add to the conversation around the 'emerging church.' They bring a Biblical view from outside the confines (hegemony) of western culture that allows others to see more of the Kingdom than they do. This will release a greater spiritual authority and anointing to call the "Body of Christ" into authentic oneness in Christ...." Don't Be Deceived!

August 2005

Brian McLaren on 'Becoming Convergent': "...some within the established Christian world have wanted to figure out exactly what Emergent believes. Well, that's impossible to really get a grasp of, since Emergent -- as an organization/movement/conversation -- doesn't have a statement of faith or belief similar to those of many more traditional religious organizations. For that reason, and because his recent books have been so thought-provoking, Brian McLaren has borne the brunt of the criticism." See A New Kind of Christian

July 2005

Q&A with Brian McLaren (Registration required): "A number of us felt that there is a significant change going on, that we are moving beyond the intellectual cultural territory that we've been roughly in for the last 300 to 500 years. This has stimulated different responses among Christian leaders. Some have taken a kind of circle-the-wagons mentality that says we've got to oppose these changes at any cost. Others of us have said that this is where we live, so we need to find ways to be faithful to God in these changes ....

     "My good friend Leonard Sweet has an acrostic, EPIC, that describes it. E – experiential.... P – participatory.... I – image-based.... C – communal....

     "What's been interesting is that I've had a couple of evangelical leaders say, 'I don't really like your books. But I wish you well, because I know that my children want nothing to do with the form of church and Christianity that I practice.' So, people are kinder to me than you might expect, because they see that something is not working for their kids." Don't conform to the ways of the world

 

   There was a time when Christians would rather die than conform to the world. But with the emphasis on fun, fantasy and self-actualizing faith, that's all changing. The next links shows the nature of the post-modern culture, planned and created by socialist education leaders such as John Dewey and Julian Huxley. I warned almost 2 decades ago, that the public education agenda would immunize children against Biblical Christianity. Indeed it did! Now the church is pressured to conform to postmodernity. See A New Kind of Christian (Brian McLaren).

 

The Emerging church (No capital letters were used): "...many ancient practices of faith and ways of being communal are being re-booted and morphed for the needs of the future church.... because the church is organic (the living body of christ), it needs evolution or re-formation to stay healthy and vibrant. (Not according to the Bible!)

    "...today's mission context provides the church with a chance to: 1. shake off any residual 'leave it to beaver' orientation and begin swimming (even with a paddleboard) within the postmodern culture.

    "...for postmodern people, authenticity is primary. the church should not fear postmodernity, as it provides us with a new context, and thus a fresh opportunity to get real, to drink deep from our own wells, and go back to our own future." See Postmodern

 

The Emerging Church, Part Two (PBS): "One of the most influential leaders in the emergent church is Brian McLaren, a pastor from Maryland...

     "Pastor MCLAREN: In my travels, where I speak and where people talk to me about my books, they say to me again and again: "The people who are the normal spokespeople for the Christian faith don't speak for me. They don't represent me. That approach to faith is not my approach." ...

     "I'm not at all against the idea of a personal relationship with God. I think that's where it all begins. ... Every individual is invited into a personal relationship with God. But personal is not private. The church has been preoccupied with the question, 'What happens to your soul after you die?' ... I just think a fair reading of the Gospels blows that out of the water....

    "...the traditional view of hell makes God look like a torturer. My purpose is to get conversation going about the old view and problems with it so that we can together move forward in reconsidering, and maybe there is a better understanding of what Jesus meant and what the scriptures mean when they've talked about issues like judgment, justice, hell....

     "when we talk about faith, the word 'faith' and the word 'certainty,' we've got a whole lot of problems there. What do we mean by 'certainty'?...

     "If we see this thing turn into something that has real implications for health and well-being in our world, that to me has a lot of the feel of God's will being done on earth as it is in heaven, which is something all of us Christians pray for."

 

The Emerging Church, Part One (PBS, 7-8): "In a dark sanctuary filled with votive candles, fast-paced images flash across video screens. Participants come forward to write their names on a wooden cross on the floor. At the altar, a DJ with a computer mixes the music to set the mood.....

    "More and more Christians say the usual ways of 'doing church' no longer resonate in a contemporary, postmodern culture. Seeking to fill the gap, a growing movement called 'the emerging church' is developing new forms of worship and theological questioning for a new cultural context....

     "BRIAN MCLAREN: ...it's saying, 'I want to experience God. I'm interested in coming into an experience here.

     "LAWTON: ...People are encouraged to tangibly express their spirituality. Many are weaving together elements from different religious traditions.... Some are discovering medieval mystical practices such as walking the labyrinth.... It's a pick-your-own-mix approach that also stresses community and social justice....

     "Some, but not all, in the emerging church movement are urging profound theological reassessments....
     "Pastor PAGITT: It's more important for us to feel like we're representing a beautiful expression of our life with God than it is to be right about everything.

     "Professor MCKNIGHT: ...this appeals to a generation that is given to dialogue....
     "Prof. CARSON: Some in the emerging movement, so influenced by postmodern sensibilities, find any mention of truth, objective truth, angular or offensive. It might sound intolerant.

      "TONY JONES (National Coordinator, Emergent): Is it more sloppy than what a systematic theology professor does...? Yeah.... It's a messy endeavor, and I embrace that messiness." See A New Kind of Christian and The Rising World Religion

June 2005

The Emergent Church Movement Appoints a National Director: "...the Emergent Church movement, now has a National Director. They also have a Chairman of the Board of Directors of Emergent, none other than Brian McClaren. Slowly they are becoming structured---something they claim they despised in 'traditional' (whatever that means) churches.... Emergent began as a movement of those seeking to understand what the Christian Church should look like in our time.” See A New Kind of Christian and The Open Church

March 2005

The other emerging culture (scroll down to title): "The actual emerging generation of people raised in church... seem to have an incredibly warped sense of who God is and what the good news is all about. I found myself encouraged but also disturbed at the neurotic language of much of their 'experiences'. The God that they had encountered was a personalized sensation bringer....

    "Other bloggers have talked about this 'gnosticism' in the church.... I'm troubled that as many of us look for emerging signs of a church more radically community-based and missional, that is happy to dispense with theological labels. ..there is an ever-growing 'emerging generation' of dysfunctional Christians. The first disappointment, the slightest suffering and 'bang', the sandcastle crumbles." Conforming to the culture

 

Disciplines, Mystics, and the Contemplative Life (from youthspecialties.com): "I lit candles, burned incense, hung rosaries, and listened to tapes of Benedictine monks. I meditated for hours on words, images, and sounds. I reached the point of being able to achieve alpha brain patterns, the state in which dreams occur, while still awake and meditating....

     "I worked as a church planter the following year and began using contemplative elements in worship from the outset. We held 'thin place' services in reference to a belief that in prayer, the veil between us and God becomes thinner. Entire nights were devoted to guided meditations, drum circles, and 'soul labs.' ... During Lent, we all fasted—be it from food, caffeine, coarse language, or video games....

    "'You're going to teach us to meditate?' she asked. 'That's right,' I said. 'Isn't that New Age or Buddhist?' she asked....'What's the difference?'

     "'...The difference is the reason we're doing it. The Buddhist empties the mind for the sake of emptying it. The Christian empties the mind to fill it with Christ."

     No! God tells us to meditate on His Word, not empty our minds or seek "altered states of consciousness" and mystical experiences. Such Eastern and New Age practices open minds to the occult spirit world, not to our God. See A Twist of Faith, Chapter 2

February 2005

Emergent Evangelism: "What does evangelism look like among those for whom absolute truth claims are anathema? Brian McLaren of Cedar Ridge Community Church spoke at a Billy Graham Center evangelism roundtable in April 2004 called 'Issues of Truth and Power: the Gospel in a Post-Christian Culture.'... The gospel, McLaren said, starts 'with God's concern for the world, in which God creates a community called the church, comprised of persons who stop (or repent of) being 'part of the problem' and choose instead to join God as 'part of the solution'—thus simultaneously entering a mission and a community in which one is accepted by grace, through faith in Jesus.'

     "Making absolute truth claims—so important to evangelism in the modern era—becomes problematic in the postmodern context. Instead, he said, we can focus on recruiting people who follow Jesus by faith (without claims of certainty or absolute knowledge) with the goal of being transformed and participating in the transformation of the world. ... 'I think most Christians grossly misunderstand the philosophical baggage associated with terms like absolute....' McLaren said. 'Similarly, arguments that pit absolutism versus relativism, and objectivism versus subjectivism, prove meaningless or absurd to postmodern people." See A New Kind of Christian & Chart: Postmodernity


December 2004

'Emergent church' evokes past to attract youths: "Consisting largely of younger Christians, emergent churches cut across denominational lines in an effort to reclaim the sense of mystery found in the ritual and symbols of the faith's ancient past. But they're also dedicated to engaging modern culture, often in small communities that draw from various traditions to seek an experience of God in many ways from painting during services to meditating on a forgotten Celtic prayer. Leaders cite the apostle Paul as their guide, noting he used the culture of his time to spread Christianity. Some call emergent churches the 'ancient future faith.'

     "'We're trying to be authentic,' Bennett said. 'We're not trying to be cool, but be real.' ...

     "Dan Kimball, a Santa Cruz, Calif., pastor and founder of one of the first emergent churches in the country, gathered Christian and non-Christian friends to sample a variety of church services, and find out what was missing." 

 

Reinventing church: "What he did know was that the institutional church wasn't attuned to the world he lived in; open to theological questioning; or responding to the challenge of a postmodern culture in which institutional authority, absolute truth, and even a rationalistic world view no longer hold sway. And young people in particular are staying away from churches in droves.

    "...working out of his garage in Newport Beach, Calif., Mr. Burke runs THE OOZE, a Web-based community for some 50,000 Christian leaders in 60 countries who are part of a new 'emerging church' movement aimed at reinventing the church for the 21st century. They are responding to what many consider the most dramatic cultural shift since the Enlightenment." See Postmodern thinking and A New Kind of Christian

 

Hip New Churches Pray to a Different Drummer: "...John Musick, the pastor, sat behind a drum set, accompanied by three other members of the musical 'ministry team. Light fixtures dangled from exposed pipes; slides and videos of old stone crosses or statues flashed on two screens. Mr. Musick, 37, wore a faded T-shirt and blue jeans and had mussed hair and a soul patch beneath his lower lip....

    "Called 'emerging' or 'postmodern' churches, they are diverse in theology and method.... Some religious historians believe the churches represent the next wave of evangelical worship, after the boom in megachurches in the 1980's and 1990's. ...

    "Brian McLaren, 48, pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Md., and one of the architects of the fledgling movement, compared the churches to foreign missions, using the local language and culture, only directed at the vast unchurched population of young America....

    "Many emerging churches... have revived medieval liturgies or practices, including prayer labyrinths and lectio divina, or sacred reading....
   
"'The Orthodox practices represent stability,' Mr. Musick said. 'Marriage you can't rely upon. With the dot-com failures, having mad computer skills doesn't guarantee you a good job. That stability isn't there." See Postmodern uncertainty

 

What is Emergent? (link now obsolete) "The world is changing politically, philosophically, socially and economically, and spiritually. This complex and many-faceted transition calls for innovative Christian leaders from all streams of the Christian faith around the world to collaborate in unprecedented ways. We must imagine and pursue the development of new ways of being followers of Jesus… new integrations and conversations and convergences and dreams."

November

Brian McLaren's book, The Story We Find Ourselves In: (a reader's comment from the Amazon.com page marketing McLaren's book):  "... If you are looking for more than light entertaining reading (listless at that), my advice would be to begin with Chapter 12! Then, if you are one who is still briared in 'Fundamental' theology where your Christianity is composed primarily of 'saved' and escaping Hell, then you will find McLaren's post-modern views very enlightening and expanding. This is where today's Church is headed and you might was well grasp it now and get onboard. You will be glad you did. My own faith and ideologies, on the other hand, already embrace all of McLaren's 'New Kind of Christianity' and beyond, so this book was 'ho-hum' to me." See A New Kind of Christian & Story We Find Ourselves In

Cross Over To The Otherside: "Otherside... the term was made familiar within the so-called 'emerging church' movement by the very popular book, The Church on the Other Side by Brian McLaren. Some in this movement have utilized the term to depict a radical break with historic evangelical thought and practice.... Easun believes we are living in what he calls a 'crack in history' between the end of the periods of Christendom and modernity and the beginning of a new era, which will require a new kind of leadership." See Brian McLaren's radical views in Harry Potter and the Postmodern Church  

The Emerging Church: "I see the same things today that I observed 30 years ago; there is a famine for the Word of God and a lack of love for the truth. I have spoken to many of the young 'Gen X' and 'Millennial' crowd that are moving into the new experiences of the Emerging Church, only to find that even with their claims of having a 'passion' for Jesus there is very little biblical grounding and a large degree of sensuality (walking by feelings and experiences) in their relationship with the Lord....

     "In Dr. Steinkamp's article, 'Cross Over to the Other Side', he writes: During the modem era, (since the 18th century) Truth was assumed to exist; it was just waiting to be discovered.... People could debate and disagree about the Truth but there could be only one Truth. But now 'truth' is whatever the individual or community believes it is. Postmoderns now insist that truth is no longer 'over and above us'.... Each community can have its own 'truth.' Therefore, contradiction is not only inevitable, but abounds.... Augustine's dictum, 'All truth is God's truth' has been altered to mean, 'Everybody's truth is God's truth.' It all depends on how you look at it and of what social group you are a member." See God's eternal, unchanging Word

 

Brian McLaren: 'The story we find ourselves in' by Greg Warner (Pastors.com, 2003): "A lot of us are asking, What are the structures that we need next? Not a new denomination but ways to connect across denominations, new ways to disseminate resources, new ways to connect learning communities.… I think websites like Emergent Village, publications like FaithWorks, and conferences are all ways of creating new kinds of networks."

     "Already McLaren sees evidence that young Christians are more willing to look past doctrinal differences to find fellowship. They see denominations as 'structures for connection rather than barriers for isolation.' They are more open to the wisdom and practices of the ancient church and non-evangelical traditions - 'resources grossly undervalued in recent decades.'"

October

Un-churches in Colorado reflect nationwide trend: "In contrast to seeker-sensitive megachurches that mainly target boomers, the emerging church movement is an effort to reach younger adults. ... Some of the new congregations sport provocative names (The Next Level Church, Scum of the Earth Church...]... It’s hard to say exactly what makes a congregation an 'emerging church' since the movement eschews structure and formulas. Many groups adopt a shared-leadership approach and so have no senior pastor. Some employ candles, incense, and icons to connect to believers of the past....

      "'The real goal,' says Michael Noel, one of the co-pastors of The Journey, 'is freedom, allowing people to be who they want to be.'"  Led by their feelings or led by God's Word and Spirit? Matthew 16:21-25

September

Next wave of worship (registration required): "...the emerging church phenomenon surfaced about six years ago, in part, as a response by mostly evangelical pastors and youth ministers struggling with their young charges and their own faith. ...

    "Today, many point to McLaren as the most finely pitched voice in the emerging church movement....

    "[Old Testament scholar Walter] Brueggemann... encouraged ministers to provide an alternative script rooted in the Bible, which he described as 'ragged, disjunctive and incoherent' and whose 'key character is illusive and irascible in freedom and in sovereignty and in hiddenness and, I'm embarrassed to say, in violence.'... His words struck a chord." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

Fundamentalism - Foreword: "The dangers posed by religiously motivated extremists are evident on the front pages of daily newspapers. Fundamentalism demands a rigid certainty that can easily lead to a dangerous kind of zealotry. Absolute truth claims too often embolden religious extremists to see themselves as instruments of God’s will amid perceived injustice. ... Humphreys and Wise gently explain how 'the Fundamentalist impulse and movement have tended to miss the fundamentals of the Christian faith and to work against the unity and harmony of the church." They encourage a broader, more ecumenical approach, one that embraces diversity among Christians...." Yes, the dialectic of opposites is in. Faith in God's unchanging truths is out. Biblical faith based on God's eternal Word does indeed draw a line between Biblical Christianity and today's politically correct revisions. Matthew 10:34 and Are We Fundamentalists?

 

The next title may sound confusing. One of the key leaders in the Emerging church movement is Brian McLaren. Click on Postmodern uncertainty and scroll down to the second set of quotes by McLaren. In his books he shows even more clearly that Biblical absolutes are incompatible with the emerging churches.

 

Movement discarding Christian traditions, but keeping doctrine: "The movement is also described as the church response to the post-modern era, where spiritual seekers tend to shy away from organized religions, choosing a more intimate, relational experience. Because of all those descriptions and applications, defining the Emerging Church is not easy, said Tom Sine....

     "Rick Warren... pastor of the largest Southern Baptist church in California, has endorsed the concepts of the Emerging Church as serving 'God's purpose' in this current generation. 'The world changes,' Warren wrote in the forward to Dan Kimball's book, 'The Emerging Church,' 'but the Word doesn't. To be effective in ministry, we must learn to live with the tension between those two.'"

       That tension is an essential part of the dialectic process of mental change. See Small Groups and the Dialectic Process

August

These Christians Radically Rethink What a Church Is: "For its members, church can be spending an afternoon at a Costa Mesa park, where they share lunch and conversation with the down and out.... And, sometimes, they visit a Buddhist gathering in Fountain Valley and talk and write about the experience afterward.... Shepherded by Spencer Burke, a former pastor at the 10,000-member Mariners Church in Irvine, a small band of men and women belong to this highly movable congregation.  

      "They're part of a new phenomenon — 'emerging churches' — growing out of evangelical Christianity. The movement was started over the last six years or so by Christian leaders disillusioned with churches that they complained were run like big corporations, stressing celebrity preachers, glitzy services and huge budgets....

      "The Rev. Eddie Gibbs, professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, says [Pastor] Burke is an 'influential thinker' in the emerging-church movement." Softening God's Word

 

The Emerging Church and Contemplative Spirituality—More Connected Than You May Think! "Monastic models of church are now a viable option for young people — The practice of pilgrimage is increasingly popular, as is other forms of navigable worship using motion and movement like labyrinths, prayer walks, or stations of the cross.....

    "...the emerging church movement is difficult to quantify.... they are blending ancient practices like incense and candles with 21st century lifestyles."

    Pastor Brian McLaren is a leader in the Emerging Church Movement -- a natural progression from the dialectic feeling-based thinking within postmodern churches. Read more about his views at Harry Potter and the Postmodern Church

 

Characteristics of the shift to Emerging Worship: "What is 'the shift?” The shift is referring to the recent shift in culture, from Generation X (baby boomers, etc.) and the Seeker-sensitive Movement to a whole new era of ministry and evangelism within the church.
    "What is the 'emerging church?' A movement of people wanting to experience life and God in a fresh and personal way.
    "What makes the emerging church different? "The emerging church does not fall short of understanding and meeting the needs of today’s growing culture. It is now more in touch with the needs of our culture because it is OUR culture. It is a matter of reaching in rather than reaching out. We don’t just see the needs but we go after them."

 

The Emerging Church: "It seems that the old and the irrelevant must go, to be replaced with the 'newest thing' that supposedly brings back the life, the excitement, the experiences that will help to restore us to a simple devotion to our Lord and Savior. Over many centuries 'it seems' we have never been able to attain this position as a corporate body and now, this new generation, with all of its knowledge and understanding, thinks that they have discovered the answers that have been eluded us for so long. ...  

      "...there is a famine for the Word of God and a lack of love for the truth. I have spoken to many of the young 'Gen X' and 'Millennial' crowd that are moving into the new experiences of the Emerging Church, only to find that even with their claims of having a 'passion" for Jesus  there is very little biblical grounding and a large degree of sensuality (walking by feelings and experiences) in their relationship with the Lord....

     "In the young people that I have spoken with from various backgrounds and various fellowships, there is a keen lack of discernment for the dangers that we all face as believers, from the many false teaching which are being introduced with greater frequency to this movement and to the IC, to the New Age concepts of Contemplative Spirituality and Contemplative Prayer that I find being infused, to literal occult experiences being accepted and practiced without testing the spirits, as we are warned to do in John 4:1-3." (4-30-04)  Colossians 2:8

July

Emerging churches in post-Christendom: "New models of church are promoted as contextually appropriate and missionally effective - seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven and cell church among the most popular.... Redesigning church for postmodern culture is a quest on which many have embarked. On the fringes are those whose experiences of church make them wary of using the term 'church.' Alternative worship, café church, youth church, pub church, cyber-church, household church, portfolio church, table church, new monastic communities and other models are emerging....

    "The deep yearning for expressions of church that are spiritually authentic, culturally attuned and attractive to others is a hopeful feature of contemporary church life." But God didn't promise that His people feel at home in the world's culture. See John 15:20-21 and Hebrews 11

 

Why the 'Lost Gospels' Lost Out (DaVinci Code): "Twenty years ago, Elaine Pagels wrote The Gnostic Gospels, a book that introduced the larger public to the other 'Christian' writings that arose in the early centuries of the church. Regarding the books of the New Testament, Pagels asked, "Who made that selection, and for what reasons? Why were these other writings excluded and banned as 'heresy'?' For Pagels this wasn't a rhetorical question, but one designed to get readers to question the very authority of the New Testament.....

     "Pagels's suggestions to the contrary, gnostic texts were never seriously entertained by many Christians as legitimate representations of the faith. ....Hence, contrary to Pagels and others, the case was never that the gnostic documents were excluded or deleted. Rather, they were never serious contenders for inclusion in the canon, either in the Eastern or the Western church." But facts and reality matter little to postmodern thinkers who base beliefs on personal feelings and politically correct notions. Few want to know the historical truth that exposes the myths and lies behind today's promotion of gnostic heresies.  See A Twist of Faith - Chapter 1

May

Younger pastors ask: Is preaching out of touch? (From one of Rick Warren's websites) "At last February's Emergent Convention, a gathering of alternative church leaders.... Pagitt bluntly told 1,100 young participants that 'preaching is broken.' ... Most of those young leaders are quick to point out it isn't about technique. Preaching is broken, they say, because the church has failed to take the cultural shifts of postmodernity seriously. In today's culture, they explain, people are increasingly distrustful of authority figures, especially preachers....

      "'A sermon is often a violent act,' says Pagitt, a key figure among emerging leaders. 'It's a violence toward the will of the people who have to sit there and take it.'...  It's hard for a congregation to practice the priesthood of all believers when the preaching perpetuates an image of the pastor as somehow more authoritative or spiritual than his or her listeners." 2 Timothy 4:3-4

A God Thing. "If we’re not careful, we can turn an otherwise simple faith in Christ into a self-serving exercise of escape and opportunism, that ignores the Word of God for the gratification of the flesh, resulting in the leadership of deceiving spirits rather than God’s Holy Spirit, making those 'miracles' and 'blessings' ANYTHING but a God thing."

December

Church on the Other Side: "We are living in a time of some confusion and uncertainty as to where the church is headed and what it’s supposed to be. The options are many, and just about everything is being tried--seeker services, renewed liturgy, house churches, and cell groups. How does a church equip itself to minister effectively in the postmodern culture? ....Brian's first book, formerly titled Reinventing Church, now revised and expanded in 2000, has been a portal helping many Christian leaders enter the conversation about the postmodern transition." See Apostasy

 

Unbelieving 'born-agains': "Secularists, liberals, and Muslims do not need to fear conservative Christians, says Dave Shiflett in The Wall Street Journal. Christians, he says... don't really believe that there is such a thing as the heathen, tending to believe instead that every religion is equally valid. Even the most feared of Christians—the dread 'born-agains' ... often embrace the modern orthodoxies of tolerance and inclusion over the traditional teachings of their faith."

     "He cites poll data from Christian researcher George Barna that 26 percent of born-agains believe all religions are essentially the same and that 50 percent believe that a life of good works will enable a person to get to heaven....

     "...this is strong evidence of how American Christianity is conforming to the dominant secular culture. It is all right to be religious, according to the dictates of postmodernism, as long as your faith exists just in your head. Preachers sometimes exhort people to 'invite Jesus into your heart' without proclaiming who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners. This is evangelism that forgets to preach the gospel. The result will be 'nonevangelical born-agains.'... [See "Widening the gate to the Kingdom" and Colossians 2:8

November

Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven® Life sells 10 million copies: "Pastor Rick Warren's 'The Purpose-Driven® Life,' the #1 New York Times bestseller, has sold 10 million copies in the English language alone since its release in September of 2002.... A third '40 Days of Purpose' campaign was launched last month with more than 6,000 churches participating. It is estimated that an additional 14,500 churches will participate in the campaign in 2004.... 'The Purpose-Driven Life is more than a bestseller, it's become a movement....'" Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?  See the next three links:

The Emerging Church (by Dan Kimball): Vintage Christianity for New Generations: "...a new world is emerging all around us. We are fast moving from a Judeo-Christian world to a post-Christian world. This means we need to rethink leadership, preaching, spiritual formation, evangelism, what we do in worship services and most importantly of all how we view 'church'....  The book explores current cultural changes and then moves beyond deconstruction to give specific examples of emerging church ministry...." See Re-Inventing the Church

 

Endorsements for The Emerging Church” by Dan Kimball: "...a wonderful, detailed example of what a purpose-driven church can look like in a post-modern world," says Rick Warren. "My friend, Dan Kimball, writes passionately from his heart, with a deep desire to reach emerging generations and culture. While my book, The Purpose-Driven Church, explained what the church is called to do, Dan’s book explains how to do it with the cultural-creatives who think and feel in post-modern terms. You need to pay attention to him because times are changing." ...

      "The future of the church in North America hinges on innovators like Dan Kimball and the ideas presented in The Emerging Church."  Bob Buford, The Buford Foundation, Founder of Leadership Network." No! The future of the Church is in God's hands, not in the minds and plans of contemporary "innovators." See  El Shaddai, The Almighty God

 

Day the Church split: "Worldwide Anglicanism split in two yesterday after conservative leaders representing up to 50 million worshippers angrily rejected the Church's first openly homosexual bishop."

      Biblical unity is based on Biblical truth. Where people mock God's Word, there can be no unity. Oneness and Postmodernity

October

The Death of Truth: (Chapter 1) "As with Darwinism, postmodernism has its origin in intellectual and academic circles. This is why average Christians are unaware, or at least unclear, about what postmodernism is. Even Christian leaders and thinkers find themselves confused as their senses are assaulted by the strange or even seemingly insane language of postmodern analysis.

     "As we shall see, they present a dangerously convincing case for their view--a view that ultimately directly undermines all possibility of knowing objective truth (i.e., true whether I realize it or not). The real problem is this: once again, Christians aren't ready for a major challenge to the Christian world view...."

     The postmodern culture didn't just evolve. It was created primarily through US and UNESCO's psycho-social educational strategies used in classrooms around the world -- including the dialectic process. See The Mind-Changing Process Bush, Gorbachev, Shultz and Soviet Education and Postmodernity

 

A New Kind of Christian: "A New Kind of Christian gives voice to this emerging understanding of what it means to be a Christian in these confusing times, offering a constructive vision of what a postmodern Christian might look like.... The pastor is forced to grapple with the true source of his dissatisfaction with Christianity and his growing desire to become a new kind of Christian--one who discovers truth afresh each day through continuous engagement with God."

      Neither the Bible doesn't change with our times and culture. Nor does Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Life. But with today's quest for new and higher thrills, it's not surprising that people are less than satisfied with the good old gospel or an unchanging God. See My Lord and Psalm 119:11

Mosaic -- 'A Work of Beauty Under the Artful Hands of God': "The urban Mosaic church holds four services every Sunday. Three are held in high schools, while the fourth is held in a downtown nightclub....

      "Mosaic is a place filled with writers and dancers, actors, sculptors, painters -- a lot of people who are from the esthetic side of the world,' he explains. 'To me, it is an opportunity to reflect the creative beauty and wonder of God -- and to allow people to experience Jesus Christ in a new, fresh way."


December 2004

'Emergent church' evokes past to attract youths: "Consisting largely of younger Christians, emergent churches cut across denominational lines in an effort to reclaim the sense of mystery found in the ritual and symbols of the faith's ancient past. But they're also dedicated to engaging modern culture, often in small communities that draw from various traditions to seek an experience of God in many ways from painting during services to meditating on a forgotten Celtic prayer. Leaders cite the apostle Paul as their guide, noting he used the culture of his time to spread Christianity. Some call emergent churches the 'ancient future faith.'

     "'We're trying to be authentic,' Bennett said. 'We're not trying to be cool, but be real.' ...

     "Dan Kimball, a Santa Cruz, Calif., pastor and founder of one of the first emergent churches in the country, gathered Christian and non-Christian friends to sample a variety of church services, and find out what was missing." 

 

Reinventing church: "What he did know was that the institutional church wasn't attuned to the world he lived in; open to theological questioning; or responding to the challenge of a postmodern culture in which institutional authority, absolute truth, and even a rationalistic world view no longer hold sway. And young people in particular are staying away from churches in droves.

    "...working out of his garage in Newport Beach, Calif., Mr. Burke runs THE OOZE, a Web-based community for some 50,000 Christian leaders in 60 countries who are part of a new 'emerging church' movement aimed at reinventing the church for the 21st century. They are responding to what many consider the most dramatic cultural shift since the Enlightenment." See Postmodern thinking and A New Kind of Christian

 

Hip New Churches Pray to a Different Drummer: "...John Musick, the pastor, sat behind a drum set, accompanied by three other members of the musical 'ministry team. Light fixtures dangled from exposed pipes; slides and videos of old stone crosses or statues flashed on two screens. Mr. Musick, 37, wore a faded T-shirt and blue jeans and had mussed hair and a soul patch beneath his lower lip....

    "Called 'emerging' or 'postmodern' churches, they are diverse in theology and method.... Some religious historians believe the churches represent the next wave of evangelical worship, after the boom in megachurches in the 1980's and 1990's. ...

    "Brian McLaren, 48, pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Md., and one of the architects of the fledgling movement, compared the churches to foreign missions, using the local language and culture, only directed at the vast unchurched population of young America....

    "Many emerging churches... have revived medieval liturgies or practices, including prayer labyrinths and lectio divina, or sacred reading....
   
"'The Orthodox practices represent stability,' Mr. Musick said. 'Marriage you can't rely upon. With the dot-com failures, having mad computer skills doesn't guarantee you a good job. That stability isn't there." See Postmodern uncertainty

 

What is Emergent? (link now obsolete) "The world is changing politically, philosophically, socially and economically, and spiritually. This complex and many-faceted transition calls for innovative Christian leaders from all streams of the Christian faith around the world to collaborate in unprecedented ways. We must imagine and pursue the development of new ways of being followers of Jesus… new integrations and conversations and convergences and dreams."

November

Brian McLaren's book, The Story We Find Ourselves In: (a reader's comment from the Amazon.com page marketing McLaren's book):  "... If you are looking for more than light entertaining reading (listless at that), my advice would be to begin with Chapter 12! Then, if you are one who is still briared in 'Fundamental' theology where your Christianity is composed primarily of 'saved' and escaping Hell, then you will find McLaren's post-modern views very enlightening and expanding. This is where today's Church is headed and you might was well grasp it now and get onboard. You will be glad you did. My own faith and ideologies, on the other hand, already embrace all of McLaren's 'New Kind of Christianity' and beyond, so this book was 'ho-hum' to me." See A New Kind of Christian & Story We Find Ourselves In

Cross Over To The Otherside: "Otherside... the term was made familiar within the so-called 'emerging church' movement by the very popular book, The Church on the Other Side by Brian McLaren. Some in this movement have utilized the term to depict a radical break with historic evangelical thought and practice.... Easun believes we are living in what he calls a 'crack in history' between the end of the periods of Christendom and modernity and the beginning of a new era, which will require a new kind of leadership." See Brian McLaren's radical views in Harry Potter and the Postmodern Church  

The Emerging Church: "I see the same things today that I observed 30 years ago; there is a famine for the Word of God and a lack of love for the truth. I have spoken to many of the young 'Gen X' and 'Millennial' crowd that are moving into the new experiences of the Emerging Church, only to find that even with their claims of having a 'passion' for Jesus there is very little biblical grounding and a large degree of sensuality (walking by feelings and experiences) in their relationship with the Lord....

     "In Dr. Steinkamp's article, 'Cross Over to the Other Side', he writes: During the modem era, (since the 18th century) Truth was assumed to exist; it was just waiting to be discovered.... People could debate and disagree about the Truth but there could be only one Truth. But now 'truth' is whatever the individual or community believes it is. Postmoderns now insist that truth is no longer 'over and above us'.... Each community can have its own 'truth.' Therefore, contradiction is not only inevitable, but abounds.... Augustine's dictum, 'All truth is God's truth' has been altered to mean, 'Everybody's truth is God's truth.' It all depends on how you look at it and of what social group you are a member." See God's eternal, unchanging Word

 

Brian McLaren: 'The story we find ourselves in' by Greg Warner (Pastors.com, 2003): "A lot of us are asking, What are the structures that we need next? Not a new denomination but ways to connect across denominations, new ways to disseminate resources, new ways to connect learning communities.… I think websites like Emergent Village, publications like FaithWorks, and conferences are all ways of creating new kinds of networks."

     "Already McLaren sees evidence that young Christians are more willing to look past doctrinal differences to find fellowship. They see denominations as 'structures for connection rather than barriers for isolation.' They are more open to the wisdom and practices of the ancient church and non-evangelical traditions - 'resources grossly undervalued in recent decades.'"

October

Un-churches in Colorado reflect nationwide trend: "In contrast to seeker-sensitive megachurches that mainly target boomers, the emerging church movement is an effort to reach younger adults. ... Some of the new congregations sport provocative names (The Next Level Church, Scum of the Earth Church...]... It’s hard to say exactly what makes a congregation an 'emerging church' since the movement eschews structure and formulas. Many groups adopt a shared-leadership approach and so have no senior pastor. Some employ candles, incense, and icons to connect to believers of the past....

      "'The real goal,' says Michael Noel, one of the co-pastors of The Journey, 'is freedom, allowing people to be who they want to be.'"  Led by their feelings or led by God's Word and Spirit? Matthew 16:21-25

September

Next wave of worship (registration required): "...the emerging church phenomenon surfaced about six years ago, in part, as a response by mostly evangelical pastors and youth ministers struggling with their young charges and their own faith. ...

    "Today, many point to McLaren as the most finely pitched voice in the emerging church movement....

    "[Old Testament scholar Walter] Brueggemann... encouraged ministers to provide an alternative script rooted in the Bible, which he described as 'ragged, disjunctive and incoherent' and whose 'key character is illusive and irascible in freedom and in sovereignty and in hiddenness and, I'm embarrassed to say, in violence.'... His words struck a chord." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

Fundamentalism - Foreword: "The dangers posed by religiously motivated extremists are evident on the front pages of daily newspapers. Fundamentalism demands a rigid certainty that can easily lead to a dangerous kind of zealotry. Absolute truth claims too often embolden religious extremists to see themselves as instruments of God’s will amid perceived injustice. ... Humphreys and Wise gently explain how 'the Fundamentalist impulse and movement have tended to miss the fundamentals of the Christian faith and to work against the unity and harmony of the church." They encourage a broader, more ecumenical approach, one that embraces diversity among Christians...." Yes, the dialectic of opposites is in. Faith in God's unchanging truths is out. Biblical faith based on God's eternal Word does indeed draw a line between Biblical Christianity and today's politically correct revisions. Matthew 10:34 and Are We Fundamentalists?

 

The next title may sound confusing. One of the key leaders in the Emerging church movement is Brian McLaren. Click on Postmodern uncertainty and scroll down to the second set of quotes by McLaren. In his books he shows even more clearly that Biblical absolutes are incompatible with the emerging churches.

 

Movement discarding Christian traditions, but keeping doctrine: "The movement is also described as the church response to the post-modern era, where spiritual seekers tend to shy away from organized religions, choosing a more intimate, relational experience. Because of all those descriptions and applications, defining the Emerging Church is not easy, said Tom Sine....

     "Rick Warren... pastor of the largest Southern Baptist church in California, has endorsed the concepts of the Emerging Church as serving 'God's purpose' in this current generation. 'The world changes,' Warren wrote in the forward to Dan Kimball's book, 'The Emerging Church,' 'but the Word doesn't. To be effective in ministry, we must learn to live with the tension between those two.'"

       That tension is an essential part of the dialectic process of mental change. See Small Groups and the Dialectic Process

August

These Christians Radically Rethink What a Church Is: "For its members, church can be spending an afternoon at a Costa Mesa park, where they share lunch and conversation with the down and out.... And, sometimes, they visit a Buddhist gathering in Fountain Valley and talk and write about the experience afterward.... Shepherded by Spencer Burke, a former pastor at the 10,000-member Mariners Church in Irvine, a small band of men and women belong to this highly movable congregation.  

      "They're part of a new phenomenon — 'emerging churches' — growing out of evangelical Christianity. The movement was started over the last six years or so by Christian leaders disillusioned with churches that they complained were run like big corporations, stressing celebrity preachers, glitzy services and huge budgets....

      "The Rev. Eddie Gibbs, professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, says [Pastor] Burke is an 'influential thinker' in the emerging-church movement." Softening God's Word

 

The Emerging Church and Contemplative Spirituality—More Connected Than You May Think! "Monastic models of church are now a viable option for young people — The practice of pilgrimage is increasingly popular, as is other forms of navigable worship using motion and movement like labyrinths, prayer walks, or stations of the cross.....

    "...the emerging church movement is difficult to quantify.... they are blending ancient practices like incense and candles with 21st century lifestyles."

    Pastor Brian McLaren is a leader in the Emerging Church Movement -- a natural progression from the dialectic feeling-based thinking within postmodern churches. Read more about his views at Harry Potter and the Postmodern Church

 

Characteristics of the shift to Emerging Worship: "What is 'the shift?” The shift is referring to the recent shift in culture, from Generation X (baby boomers, etc.) and the Seeker-sensitive Movement to a whole new era of ministry and evangelism within the church.
    "What is the 'emerging church?' A movement of people wanting to experience life and God in a fresh and personal way.
    "What makes the emerging church different? "The emerging church does not fall short of understanding and meeting the needs of today’s growing culture. It is now more in touch with the needs of our culture because it is OUR culture. It is a matter of reaching in rather than reaching out. We don’t just see the needs but we go after them."

 

The Emerging Church: "It seems that the old and the irrelevant must go, to be replaced with the 'newest thing' that supposedly brings back the life, the excitement, the experiences that will help to restore us to a simple devotion to our Lord and Savior. Over many centuries 'it seems' we have never been able to attain this position as a corporate body and now, this new generation, with all of its knowledge and understanding, thinks that they have discovered the answers that have been eluded us for so long. ...  

      "...there is a famine for the Word of God and a lack of love for the truth. I have spoken to many of the young 'Gen X' and 'Millennial' crowd that are moving into the new experiences of the Emerging Church, only to find that even with their claims of having a 'passion" for Jesus  there is very little biblical grounding and a large degree of sensuality (walking by feelings and experiences) in their relationship with the Lord....

     "In the young people that I have spoken with from various backgrounds and various fellowships, there is a keen lack of discernment for the dangers that we all face as believers, from the many false teaching which are being introduced with greater frequency to this movement and to the IC, to the New Age concepts of Contemplative Spirituality and Contemplative Prayer that I find being infused, to literal occult experiences being accepted and practiced without testing the spirits, as we are warned to do in John 4:1-3." (4-30-04)  Colossians 2:8

July

Emerging churches in post-Christendom: "New models of church are promoted as contextually appropriate and missionally effective - seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven and cell church among the most popular.... Redesigning church for postmodern culture is a quest on which many have embarked. On the fringes are those whose experiences of church make them wary of using the term 'church.' Alternative worship, café church, youth church, pub church, cyber-church, household church, portfolio church, table church, new monastic communities and other models are emerging....

    "The deep yearning for expressions of church that are spiritually authentic, culturally attuned and attractive to others is a hopeful feature of contemporary church life." But God didn't promise that His people feel at home in the world's culture. See John 15:20-21 and Hebrews 11

 

Why the 'Lost Gospels' Lost Out (DaVinci Code): "Twenty years ago, Elaine Pagels wrote The Gnostic Gospels, a book that introduced the larger public to the other 'Christian' writings that arose in the early centuries of the church. Regarding the books of the New Testament, Pagels asked, "Who made that selection, and for what reasons? Why were these other writings excluded and banned as 'heresy'?' For Pagels this wasn't a rhetorical question, but one designed to get readers to question the very authority of the New Testament.....

     "Pagels's suggestions to the contrary, gnostic texts were never seriously entertained by many Christians as legitimate representations of the faith. ....Hence, contrary to Pagels and others, the case was never that the gnostic documents were excluded or deleted. Rather, they were never serious contenders for inclusion in the canon, either in the Eastern or the Western church." But facts and reality matter little to postmodern thinkers who base beliefs on personal feelings and politically correct notions. Few want to know the historical truth that exposes the myths and lies behind today's promotion of gnostic heresies.  See A Twist of Faith - Chapter 1

May

Younger pastors ask: Is preaching out of touch? (From one of Rick Warren's websites) "At last February's Emergent Convention, a gathering of alternative church leaders.... Pagitt bluntly told 1,100 young participants that 'preaching is broken.' ... Most of those young leaders are quick to point out it isn't about technique. Preaching is broken, they say, because the church has failed to take the cultural shifts of postmodernity seriously. In today's culture, they explain, people are increasingly distrustful of authority figures, especially preachers....

      "'A sermon is often a violent act,' says Pagitt, a key figure among emerging leaders. 'It's a violence toward the will of the people who have to sit there and take it.'...  It's hard for a congregation to practice the priesthood of all believers when the preaching perpetuates an image of the pastor as somehow more authoritative or spiritual than his or her listeners." 2 Timothy 4:3-4

A God Thing. "If we’re not careful, we can turn an otherwise simple faith in Christ into a self-serving exercise of escape and opportunism, that ignores the Word of God for the gratification of the flesh, resulting in the leadership of deceiving spirits rather than God’s Holy Spirit, making those 'miracles' and 'blessings' ANYTHING but a God thing."

December

Church on the Other Side: "We are living in a time of some confusion and uncertainty as to where the church is headed and what it’s supposed to be. The options are many, and just about everything is being tried--seeker services, renewed liturgy, house churches, and cell groups. How does a church equip itself to minister effectively in the postmodern culture? ....Brian's first book, formerly titled Reinventing Church, now revised and expanded in 2000, has been a portal helping many Christian leaders enter the conversation about the postmodern transition." See Apostasy

 

Unbelieving 'born-agains': "Secularists, liberals, and Muslims do not need to fear conservative Christians, says Dave Shiflett in The Wall Street Journal. Christians, he says... don't really believe that there is such a thing as the heathen, tending to believe instead that every religion is equally valid. Even the most feared of Christians—the dread 'born-agains' ... often embrace the modern orthodoxies of tolerance and inclusion over the traditional teachings of their faith."

     "He cites poll data from Christian researcher George Barna that 26 percent of born-agains believe all religions are essentially the same and that 50 percent believe that a life of good works will enable a person to get to heaven....

     "...this is strong evidence of how American Christianity is conforming to the dominant secular culture. It is all right to be religious, according to the dictates of postmodernism, as long as your faith exists just in your head. Preachers sometimes exhort people to 'invite Jesus into your heart' without proclaiming who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners. This is evangelism that forgets to preach the gospel. The result will be 'nonevangelical born-agains.'... [See "Widening the gate to the Kingdom" and Colossians 2:8

November

Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven® Life sells 10 million copies: "Pastor Rick Warren's 'The Purpose-Driven® Life,' the #1 New York Times bestseller, has sold 10 million copies in the English language alone since its release in September of 2002.... A third '40 Days of Purpose' campaign was launched last month with more than 6,000 churches participating. It is estimated that an additional 14,500 churches will participate in the campaign in 2004.... 'The Purpose-Driven Life is more than a bestseller, it's become a movement....'" Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?  See the next three links:

The Emerging Church (by Dan Kimball): Vintage Christianity for New Generations: "...a new world is emerging all around us. We are fast moving from a Judeo-Christian world to a post-Christian world. This means we need to rethink leadership, preaching, spiritual formation, evangelism, what we do in worship services and most importantly of all how we view 'church'....  The book explores current cultural changes and then moves beyond deconstruction to give specific examples of emerging church ministry...." See Re-Inventing the Church

 

Endorsements for The Emerging Church” by Dan Kimball: "...a wonderful, detailed example of what a purpose-driven church can look like in a post-modern world," says Rick Warren. "My friend, Dan Kimball, writes passionately from his heart, with a deep desire to reach emerging generations and culture. While my book, The Purpose-Driven Church, explained what the church is called to do, Dan’s book explains how to do it with the cultural-creatives who think and feel in post-modern terms. You need to pay attention to him because times are changing." ...

      "The future of the church in North America hinges on innovators like Dan Kimball and the ideas presented in The Emerging Church."  Bob Buford, The Buford Foundation, Founder of Leadership Network." No! The future of the Church is in God's hands, not in the minds and plans of contemporary "innovators." See  El Shaddai, The Almighty God

 

Day the Church split: "Worldwide Anglicanism split in two yesterday after conservative leaders representing up to 50 million worshippers angrily rejected the Church's first openly homosexual bishop."

      Biblical unity is based on Biblical truth. Where people mock God's Word, there can be no unity. Oneness and Postmodernity

October

The Death of Truth: (Chapter 1) "As with Darwinism, postmodernism has its origin in intellectual and academic circles. This is why average Christians are unaware, or at least unclear, about what postmodernism is. Even Christian leaders and thinkers find themselves confused as their senses are assaulted by the strange or even seemingly insane language of postmodern analysis.

     "As we shall see, they present a dangerously convincing case for their view--a view that ultimately directly undermines all possibility of knowing objective truth (i.e., true whether I realize it or not). The real problem is this: once again, Christians aren't ready for a major challenge to the Christian world view...."

     The postmodern culture didn't just evolve. It was created primarily through US and UNESCO's psycho-social educational strategies used in classrooms around the world -- including the dialectic process. See The Mind-Changing Process Bush, Gorbachev, Shultz and Soviet Education and Postmodernity

 

A New Kind of Christian: "A New Kind of Christian gives voice to this emerging understanding of what it means to be a Christian in these confusing times, offering a constructive vision of what a postmodern Christian might look like.... The pastor is forced to grapple with the true source of his dissatisfaction with Christianity and his growing desire to become a new kind of Christian--one who discovers truth afresh each day through continuous engagement with God."

      Neither the Bible doesn't change with our times and culture. Nor does Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Life. But with today's quest for new and higher thrills, it's not surprising that people are less than satisfied with the good old gospel or an unchanging God. See My Lord and Psalm 119:11

Mosaic -- 'A Work of Beauty Under the Artful Hands of God': "The urban Mosaic church holds four services every Sunday. Three are held in high schools, while the fourth is held in a downtown nightclub....

      "Mosaic is a place filled with writers and dancers, actors, sculptors, painters -- a lot of people who are from the esthetic side of the world,' he explains. 'To me, it is an opportunity to reflect the creative beauty and wonder of God -- and to allow people to experience Jesus Christ in a new, fresh way."


Links to earlier articles on the Postmodern Church

Recent links on the Emerging Church


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