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Pomotivators UNITY Pyromaniacs e-s_049Yesterday, I featured a post on what happens when an evangelical church becomes an emergent one.  Heidi Swander and a few others who were dissatisfied with the change were told they could leave that congregation and find a new church family.  Yet, they were not in the wrong.  They were trying to get their church back on track.

Look for more of this to happen in the next decade, which is almost upon us.  If you’re a Christian who believes in the truth of the Word of God, the emergent church has news for you.  They’re not going anywhere, although they’ve already made it clear that you might be.

A ‘leading light’ in the emergent movement is a chap named Brian McLaren.  He grew up as a dispensationalist, which means a belief that God would restore Israel to the Jewish people and that there would be a 1,000 year reign of peace.  This is a belief particular to many evangelicals, Pentacostalists, Plymouth Brethren and similar churches.  It relies on God granting a series of dispensations, about which you can read more at the link.  Okay, that belief is quite specific to certain churches.  But it seems that McLaren has an axe to grind, and grind it he does. 

Check out this entry of his about peace in the Middle East.  It sounds aggressively anti-Semitic and anti-Christian, not just anti-dispensationalist.  You don’t have to be a ‘dispie’ to favour Israel and the Jewish people.  After all, as my mother always said, there would be no Christianity without them.  Our history is bound up with theirs.  So, it comes as a shock to read passages such as this:

These systems of belief — so common among my fellow evangelical Christians — too often lead people to act as if Jewish people have God-given rights but Palestinians do not…

If you hold to a deterministic-dispensationalist or Zionist theology, I sincerely hope you will rethink your view. I grew up with these views as well, and have become thoroughly convinced that they are not only biblically unfaithful but also, in too many cases, morally and ethically harmful. I know that rethinking these things can make your life more difficult — friends, church members, and even family members may reject you, for example…

If you are unwilling to reconsider your commitment to deterministic-dispensationalist or Zionist theology, I hope you will at least try to avoid extremist tendencies by your colleagues who share these beliefs, so you can be faithful to the scriptures that tell us God is not a respecter of persons, that God shows no partiality (try James 2, for example), that God cares about “the least of these,” and that love never rejoices in evil.

Gee.  There are 57 Muslim states and one postage-stamp sized Israel, created specifically for Jews in 1947.   

Now let’s look at some connections — that post appeared on the Sojourners blogRemember the Sojourners??  

Just as we have seen with the Sojourners and some of the radical progressives either in or linked to the US political administration, McLaren and his cohorts are no less aggressive about their intentions.  In 2008, McLaren came out with a book entitled Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices.  It’s published by a longstanding, well-respected Bible and Christian book publisher, Nelson.  It is one of a series of eight books in total exploring the emergent movement, by emergent authors.  Many of these are contemplatives — not necessarily Catholic but certainly emergent.  McLaren extends his thanks to all of them for their help.

In the book, about which you can read more here at Lighthouse Trails Research, he says (highlights mine): 

[W]e need to move beyond our deadlock, our polarization, our binary, either/or thinking regarding faith and reason, religion and science, matter and spirit … We need a fusion of the sacred and the secular’ (pp. 4-5). As do other emerging philosophers (such as Tony Campolo and Rick Warren), McLaren pairs fundamentalism with the adjectives: ‘fearful, manic, violent, apocalyptic’ saying that its followers are ‘well armed, dangerous, and in the mood for an apocalypse’ (p. 5). This resonates with Rick Warren who said that Christian fundamentalists (he describes those as ones who adhere to the five fundamentals of the faith 1) are this new century’s enemy (and put them in the same category as Islamic terrorists.2

Wow!  This is just so radical. And just what are the five fundamentals of faith referred to here? 

  1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
  2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
  3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
  4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
  5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20). 

So, anyone who believes in these is a Christian terrorist?  You could not make this up.  This is unbelievable.  This is basic Christianity — nuts and bolts

McLaren advocates a return to mysticism, mentioned in yesterday’s emergent church post:

McLaren understands the outcome of mysticism, which is interspirituality and man awakening to his own divinity. Thus, he explains that these ancient practices (spiritual formation) are for people of different faiths and that these ‘practices are actions within our power that help us narrow the gap’ (p. 14). They are ‘ways of becoming awake and staying awake to God’ (p. 18).

Man has no divinity.  He is totally depraved.

Then, he gets into the occult and Melchisidek:

Abraham used a mystical practice to connect with Melchizedek. Thus McLaren draws this conclusion: ‘[W]e discover practices for our own faith in an encounter with someone of another faith’ (p. 25). This is what occultists believe. Occultist Aldous Huxley said that mysticism is the ‘highest common factor’ that ‘links the world’s religious traditions’ and leads man to recognize the divinity within all things (see As Above, So Below, p. 2).

So, we’re to employ the occult in Christian belief?  Not me, mate.  And believing that people and things are divine is pure heresy.

Back to his latest book, where he says that:

even Christian communion is something to be shared with people of all faiths (in particularly with the Jewish faith and Islam); he states that this ‘sacred meal’ is a celebration of ‘inclusion’ and ‘reconciliation’ (p. 26). This makes a mockery of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who told believers to do this in remembrance of Him, acknowledging His atonement for sin – a mockery because the beliefs of other religions reject Christ as being God and the slain Lamb who could take away sin.

Words fail me. Where does it end?  Well, it doesn’t seem that McLaren’s thrown off the ‘dispie’ belief entirely, which is strange, given his hostility towards it upthread:

McLaren believes in a literal global kingdom of God on earth before Christ returns that will incorporate all the world’s religions and all creation, a ‘world yet to be born’ that ‘desperately’ needs ‘these spiritual practices’. He also relates: ‘[T]hese practices’ have ‘enlivened the three Abrahamic faiths’ (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) and should not be ‘allowed to go extinct’ (p. 29).

McLaren refers to his ‘spiritual formation’, in which the world religions have played a significant role.  In the secular world, blending of cultures and traditions makes for a fine exchange of ideas. Yet, how theological is it with regard to Christianity? 

In chapter four of Finding Our Way Again, McLaren … admits he has gleaned from various religious traditions (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc). Then he makes reference to a woman named Anne Lamott [said to have coined the expression ‘New Age movement’] when she says, ‘I am at heart a Jesus-y person’ (p. 31). Lamott is a perfect example of someone who ‘likes Jesus’ but rejects biblical Christianity.

So, is McLaren also just a Jesus-y person?  Lighthouse Trails Research explains:

The reason McLaren resonates with Lamott is because the New Age and the emerging church (or what we call the merging church) are going in the same direction – to help man awaken to his inner divinity through mysticism. When McLaren states in this chapter that he learned from Hinduism, what else could he have learned than this?

Again, I repeat, man has no inner divinity.  He is totally depraved. 

McLaren, in his own self-styled way, also says:

‘a person can be a follower of the way of Jesus without affiliating with the Christian religion’ (p. 33) … But McLaren certainly isn’t the only one in the merging church that talks like this. Erwin McManus … says it is his ‘goal to destroy Christianity as a world religion’ and also: ‘Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.’

These are people who will be influencing our churches in the next few years.  This won’t be a flash in the pan — unless … we take action now.  

And, there’s more.  McLaren gives his prescription for the future (emphasis mine):

He explains that this merging church must infiltrate the ‘institutions that rejected it’ [meaning true Christianity] … ‘But over time, what they reject will find or create safe space outside their borders and become a resource so that many if not most of the grandchildren of today’s fundamentalists will learn and grow and move on from the misguided battles of their forebears [biblical believers]’ (p. 133). You see, McLaren and his emerging church fellows (Pagitt, Sweet, Warren, et.al.) want to change the minds of our children and grandchildren. That is why Rick Warren once said that the older traditional ones will have to leave or die because they won’t change, thus the emphasis in the emerging church on the youth.’

McLaren claims:

If the guardians of our fragmented religious institutions forbid their members to meet in the center, the members will not be able to comply. They will simply go undercover and arrange secret liaisons … Eventually, the shared resources, vitality, and new possibilities that unfold … will penetrate and reinvigorate … Trying to stop [this] … is a losing game … against the plotline of God’s universe.

My head is swimming.  You know, there’s a place for this type of thought — the Unitarian Universalist Church.  Why don’t they just go there?  But that would be too easy for the emergent leaders, who  seem to have an active agenda — one of subverting Christianity, full stop. 

Are we going to have to start Christian ‘tea parties’ to circumvent this travesty?  Make sure your pastors and youth leaders are aware of what this movement is all about. 

Be vigilant.  Spread the word about the infiltration of the emergent church into your congregation.  Help save your church family.

Defend your faith, starting today.

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