On Monday night, August 25th, emerging
church author Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) gave the closing prayer
at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. This
comes on the heels of the news that Brian McLaren (prolific writer
and emerging church leader) is now an advisor to Barack Obama.
A concerted effort is taking place to draw emerging church voters
into the Democratic arena. It is quite possible that the emerging
vote will be the tipping factor in the upcoming presidential
election. In a 2006 CBS Special Report, it was suggested that there
could be as many as twenty million participants in the emerging
church. 1 Even if this figure is higher than the actual number,
based on the number of emerging church books that have sold, those
influenced by and attracted to this spirituality are in the
Two myths should be dispelled in order to gain a better
understanding of this effort:
Myth 1: Donald Miller is not really an emerging church figure.
Wrong. Miller shares the same spiritual outlook as other emerging
leaders (even in Blue Like Jazz, which has sold over a million
copies and has gained enormous influence in the evangelical church).
That is why atonement-denier Brian McLaren said there is "no better
book than Blue Like Jazz to introduce Christian spirituality."
McLaren said this about Miller because he recognizes Miller as a
soul mate of emerging spirituality.
The following quote by Miller (in BLJ) reveals much about his
"For me, the beginning of sharing my faith with people began by
throwing out Christianity and embracing Christian spirituality, a
nonpolitical mysterious system that can be experienced but not
explained (p. 115)."
When Miller says that "Christian spirituality" cannot be explained,
he means that solid, unchangeable biblical doctrine and theology do
not exist. When Miller says "Christian spirituality" can only be
"experienced," this is referring to mysticism. That can be
substantiated when Miller says: "You cannot be a Christian without
being a mystic" (p. 202). He has echoed mystic Karl Rahner's words
who said the Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will be
Some may say that Miller is merely defending ideas like the
trinity or eternity (which he refers to in BLJ) as being mystical.
But putting in context Miller's statement above, he is actually
defending "Christian writers" who embrace "mysticism." These are two
different things. When the "Christian" mystics speak of mysticism,
they are referring to altered states of consciousness (the silence)
reached during mantric-style meditation. And while Miller doesn't
mention contemplative or mantras in his books, he helps condition
people to see mysticism as a legitimate and valuable practice.
For those who may be skeptical regarding Miller's view on mysticism,
in Searching for God Knows What in the acknowledgements, Miller
thanks New Age meditation proponent Daniel Goleman. Goleman (author
of The Meditative Mind) writes favorably about mantra meditation and
Buddhism. He was the editor for a book titled Healing Emotions:
Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and
Miller backs up his dismissal of doctrine and theology (an earmark
of all emerging leaders) when he says he has "climb[ed] outside my
pat answers [doctrine]," and says "Too much of our time is spent
trying to chart God on a grid" (p. 205). That might sound acceptable
to many people today in our feel-good, redefining society, but it is
the "pat answers" and the "chart" that the Bible has given us so we
can understand God, life, and salvation. Miller reiterates his
rejection of immoveable doctrine by concluding:
"At the end of the day, when I am lying in bed and I know the chances
of any of our theology being exactly right are a million to one, I
need to know that God has things figured out, that if my math is
wrong we are still going to be okay. And wonder is that feeling we
get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that
we want God to follow."
A million to one is very low odds that "any" of our theology is
right. What about the theology of the atonement? Is our chance of
understanding that a million to one? What about the theology of
Jesus Christ's return? Can we possibly know whether or not He is
coming back? And what about the theology of biblical inerrancy? Can
we even trust the Bible? With the odds Miller suggests, no, we can
trust nothing about God's Word at all. Praise God, that Miller's
odds are completely wrong.
Myth 2: The emerging church isn't against debating the abortion or
gay issues; they just don't want those to be the ONLY issues. In
Donald Miller's second book, Searching for God Knows What, mystic
proponent, Tony Campolo, endorsed the book, saying, "We need this
book." Brian McLaren and other emergent leaders endorsed the book as
well. In that book, Miller echoes the emergent voices when he
"I wondered if the Christian faith in America had not been hijacked
as well, hijacked by those same two issues: abortion and gay
marriage. How did a spirituality such as Christianity, a
spirituality that speaks of eternity, of a world without end, of
forgiveness of sins and a mysterious union with the Godhead, come to
be represented by a moralist agenda and a trickle-down economic
The mantra of the emerging church is (including by Rick Warren) the
false accusation that the only two things biblical Christians care
about is stopping abortion and gay marriage. They state publicly
that we should also care about the sick, the poor, and the needy.
But you see, this is not what they mean: Since biblical Christians
have cared about the poor, the sick, and the needy already, what
they really mean is those two issues should be dumped altogether.
Rick Warren and other emerging leaders are not being honest when
they use the media and their books to convince the masses that
biblical Christians do not care about those in need. And whether
they know it or not, they are helping to bring about a new
spirituality, which has its foundation based on death.
The driving force behind the emerging church is mysticism. The
premise behind mysticism is man's divinity. Believing that man is
God ultimately leads to death because in that belief system, there
is no need for a Savior. Man erroneously thinks he can save himself.
Thus, he dies in his sin because he rejects the Gospel of Jesus
Everything that Satan does leads to death. Abortion and practicing
homosexuality are in essence practices of death, and it only makes
sense that this new age mystical spirituality that is entering the
church condemns Christians who oppose abortion and the practice of
The reason the emerging church must ultimately accept practicing
homosexuality and abortion is because both of these practices lead
to death, and emerging spirituality is ultimately a belief system
that draws people away from biblical truth that gives life and takes
them toward an interspiritual, panentheistic "religion" (i.e., man
is God) that leads to spiritual death (see Sue Monk Kidd).
Basically, the agendas of the Democratic Party and the emerging
church are strikingly similar. Is it any wonder that the Democratic
National Convention and the Obama ticket are using emerging church
leaders to win this next election?
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