According to a September 19th
Christianity Today blog article, the emerging church
is dead. "An overused and corrupted term now sleeps with
the fishes," the article states. But is this even
Or could it be that the emerging church, or what
we call the "merging" church, is morphing into its next
"higher" level, and just as a butterfly would not want
to be called a worm, neither do many in this evolving
movement want to be called "the emerging church" any
However, unlike the beauty of a golden butterfly broken
from its cocoon, the merging church does
not share such grandeur. In reality, it is a dangerous
pied piper leading millions over a deadly cliff of
deception. And just as the "birth" of the emerging
church was a well-thought out, highly-financed "dream"
of millionaire corporations and futurists, so too will
be its supposed "death" and rebirth. But don't be
fooled, the emerging church and the spirituality behind
it is alive and kicking.
The Christianity Today posting claims that an
"informant" from a publishing house told him that two
years ago plans were in the making to drop the term "the
emerging church" because "the term has become so
polluted." The writer says that emerging church leaders,
like Dan Kimball, don't want to use that term anymore.
Kimball says the current emerging church has too many
"theological strands" that he "strongly disagrees with."
Kimball's 2003 book The Emerging Church (endorsed
by Rick Warren and Brian McLaren, both who wrote
forewords for the book) has been considered a signature
book for the movement.
The writer of the CT 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 ... not
because, as Kimball suggests, it's too hard to define
the movement anymore theologically but rather because
the movement has been exposed for what it really is by
Bible believing Christians.
Lighthouse Trails will assume that those reading this
special commentary have already read Roger Oakland's
expose of the emerging church,
Faith Undone, and understand how the movement
began with big corporation dollars and the idea of an
emerging church from men like Peter Drucker as well as
Leadership Network (of which contained the
influence of Rick Warren and Bill Hybels and mystics of
For those who have not read
you can read about this in our article,
"Bob Buford, Peter Drucker, and the Emerging Church."
In essence, the major manipulation of success-driven
leaders, publishing companies, and corporations created
the emerging church movement, and now perhaps a new
spiritual move (a better one at that) will arise, with
many calling it a move of God, when in truth it will
merely line more pockets and continue to bring confusion
and disillusionment to millions.
If the CT writer's words are true and a publishing house
informant told him the plan that the publishing industry
has to drop the term emerging church, what will they
replace it with? The New Age gurus have attempted to
replace their term with "the
To define this
new spirituality, they use
words and terms like
awakening, emergence, oneness,
God's dream, transformation, new reformation,
God on earth, global peace, expansive redemption,
rethinking, co-creation, christ-consciousness, and
imagination. But while these New Age leaders have moved
away from the term "New Age," replacing it with these
other terms, it is important to note that the woman who
coined the term "New Age,"
Alice Bailey, used most of the terms above to define
the New Age. These words do define the New Age.
We could show you example after
example: Phyllis Tickle's new book, The Great Emergence,
Erwin McManus' book Wide Awake and his website Awaken
Awaken Humanity), Leonard Sweet's "christ-consciousness,"
Rob Bell's co-creation, Rick Warren's
global peace and
new reformation, Brian McLaren's God's Dream, and the
list could go on and on.
Just as the New Age movement has had to rename itself in
order to maintain societal acceptance, so too the
emerging church must put on a coat of different colors
to maintain its welcome within the walls of
Christianity. Those, like Roger Oakland, who have
meticulously revealed the true nature of the emerging
church, have forced its leaders (including the
publishing houses and financiers) to play their hand.
What will be the next move and what will be the
implications? The CT article says that "news has been
leaking about a new network being formed by Dan Kimball,
Erwin McManus, and
Scot McKnight among others." Dan Kimball and Erwin
McManus HAVE been sharing some of the same platforms
lately. At Robert Schuller's 2008 Rethink conference,
the two were there as speakers. At McManus'
Awaken 2008 conference, Kimball accepted McManus'
invitation to be a speaker there.
Incidentally, as we stated in a
a news brief about that event, one of the speakers
at Awaken 2008, has promoted New Age leader and Oprah
favorite, Eckhart Tolle. But in light of the marked
similarities between the New Age and the emerging
church, that really shouldn't come as a surprise. As for
a new network, Dan Kimball
talked about Awaken on his own website after the
event was over. On that post, Kimball stated: [W]e have
been dreaming and meeting about forging a relational and
Kimball was also with McManus at
LeadNow08, another of many emerging-type conferences
taking place across North America today. It will be
interesting to see this new "network/alliance" - very
likely we can expect to see the emergence of this dream
of the awakening of humanity for the purposes of global
peace brought about through a new reformation to
establish the kingdom of God here on earth. Mysticism
will be the vehicle to bring it about.
When the emerging church came on the scene in the late
1990s, it was able to enjoy several years of movement
with virtually no criticism. Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt,
Mark Driscoll, and the other formative men wrote book
after book, did event after event, and quickly gained
momentum and by the way, lots of media coverage, so much
so that in 2005 Brian McLaren was named as one of Time
magazine's 25 Most Influential Evangelical Leaders, an
entitlement that took some of the winners decades of
ministry to obtain.
But then books, like
A Time of Departing which identifies the
mystical elements of the emerging church, and
which shows the anti-biblical nature of the movement,
came out, and many people began to understand that the
emerging church was an interspiritual, universalist body
that was against the atonement of Jesus Christ and
perpetuated a growing hostility toward the bride of
Christ (the body of born-again believers). It all became
just too obvious; and thus a natural response is to say,
that movement has become corrupted; we are moving on to
Erwin McManus is going to be one of the leaders in
this revised, evolved merging church. Where is he going
to lead it? In
a trailer for his summer 2008 book, Wide Awake,
"It's amazing how a dream can have
the power to change an entire planet ... What would
happen if all of us began to discover our god-given
dreams? What would happen if all of us began to live
wide awake? ... If all of us began to live wide
awake ... the world would never be the same again."
How can "all of us" (all humanity is what
he means) live wide awake when the Bible says that in
the days before Christ's return there will be a great
falling away, and where it says that nations will
turn against God and where it says an anti-christ will
cause multitudes to bow down and worship him? Why is
McManus suggesting that all humans can be wide awake?
And to what are they awakening?
The Bible says that in the last days
Satan will deceive the whole world (Revelation 12:9).
But perhaps McManus would agree with New Ager
Barbara Marx Hubbard who says if enough people come
together, then Revelation's predictions can be avoided.
This notion is what New Agers term Armageddon
Alternative. In Warren Smith's stunning expose' of the
New Spirituality, he describes this "alternative" to
Armageddon and the implications it carries.1
While it appears that emerging is going to do another
split (remember when Mark Driscoll (and others) divided
the movement into a few different groups: revisionist,
reformed, and relevant), the point to keep in mind is
that it is still
emerging spirituality. And such spirituality
embraces mysticism, attempts to bring about a global
kingdom on earth, and believes humanity can awaken to
its own divinity and oneness. Those are the earmarks of
the emerging church - calling it by any other name
changes it no more than calling the New Age a new name
makes it something else. As the saying goes, "A rose by
any other name is still a rose." In this case, apostasy
by any other name is still apostasy.
When Erwin McManus said a few years ago it was his "goal
to destroy Christianity,"2
it didn't seem to bother Christian leaders. In fact,
after that, respected and popular teacher David Jeremiah
touted McManus and said he wanted to use McManus to help
his church go through a major paradigm shift.3
Well, we are witnessing a paradigm shift - actually, we
are already through the shift, and now the devil is
scurrying about to maintain the momentum ... and secrecy
of his true plans. Darkness hates the light. Emerging,
New Age spirituality is nothing new.
Thankfully, while spiritual darkness and deception seem
to be overtaking the world like never before, we know
that Jesus is the ultimate Victor. As believers, let us
pray that many who are still in darkness will be able to
hear the true Gospel, believe on it, and be saved.
As the emerging church presents "another
Jesus" and "another gospel" (II Corinthians 11:4), may
the Lord give discernment and courage to those who
belong to the One who said, "My kingdom is not of this
world" (John 18:36) and "I am come a light into the
world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide
in darkness" (John 12:46).
kingdom of this world is in darkness
- it is not one we should hope to aspire to. But He has
promised to bring us into
His kingdom when we place our
trust in Jesus Christ (by faith through grace),
hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath
translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom
we have redemption through his blood, even the
forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13-14).
"God's Dream: What Does it Really Mean?"
They Like Jesus But Not the Church
EMERGENT MANIFESTO: Emerging Church Comes
Out of the Closet