A few years ago my wife began reading some books that were recommended by several youth pastors. After reading several chapters she made me aware of some troubling philosophies and doctrines that were perpetuated in these books. In our search we found a common bond with several so called evangelical writers whom we now know are involved in the post modern “emergent” progressive church movement.
In the name of keeping the Church relevant many so called evangelical pastors and youth leaders have bought into the progressive post modern “emergent church” movement. Those leading this movement do not just want to change the church’s methods, but want to change Christianity altogether. These men have not necessarily come from liberal schools, but have embraced evangelical Christianity. They are among us and teach in our Christian colleges and universities, write books that are sold in our Christian bookstores and speak at our Christian conferences. Their message of helping the poor or caring for the environment and loving one another is a good thing but not a substitute for the gospel.
What they believe at first seems to be what we believe with a little twist , but after careful examination their message is destructive and contrary to scripture.
They believe Jesus is savior and yet preach a message of universal salvation and tolerance.
The person most commonly associated with the post modern “emergent” movement is Brian McLaren.
Brian McLaren began Cedar Ridge Community Church in 1986 in the Baltimore Washington area and is a very popular so called evangelical speaker. In his book “More Ready Than You Realize” McLaren says “I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all) circumstances to help people to become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts…
McLaren was recognized as Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” Brian serves on the board for an organization called “Sojourners”.
Sojourners is a so called evangelical organization that is based on social justice and left wing political causes. The organization was
founded by Jim Wallis who is President Obama’s spiritual adviser. Wallis has received criticism for calling the United States a fallen nation in his 1976 book “Agenda for Biblical People”. Sojourners also receives money from George Soros.
Many “Postmodern emergents” will deny Biblical truth to fit a modern view of social justice.
Just recently Robb Bell, famous evangelical pastor of the mega Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids Michigan, published a book called “Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.” According to his book, Bell criticizes the belief that a select number of Christians will spend eternity in the bliss of heaven while everyone else is tormented forever in Hell. Bell goes on to say in his book “This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.” This kind of rhetoric is becoming common to the post modern emergent pastor.
Another post modern thinker, Tony Campolo, motivational speaker and sociology professor at Eastern College is quoted to say “What I think I can say is, and this is where I get in trouble, I’m not sure that when this life is over that all possibilities for salvation are over.” He also says “… I am not convinced that the grace of God does not go further than the Christian community.” He seems to believe that there are other ways to enter heaven.
In an exchange with now popular emergent post modern speaker Shane Claiborne , Tony Campolo speaks his mind when Shane asks, “Both Muslims and Christians are very evangelical in the sense of desiring others to come to faith in their God. When we talk about inter-religious cooperation, does that mean that we need to stop converting each other?”
Tony answers, “We don’t have to stop trying to convert each other. What we have to do is show respect to one another. And to speak to each other with a sense that even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people, God loves them, and we do not make the judgement of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell.”
To say that we are all Gods children is not in the Bible… only those who are born again are truly God’s children. Secondly the first part of Romans teaches that they (who are outside the faith) are without excuse. For the so called evangelical Tony Campolo to make these kinds of statements is counter to the teaching of Jesus and not found in the Bible.
Since Tony is such a good speaker with great charisma, many evangelicals have invited him to speak to large crowds all over the world. Many are being deceived by his progressive “emergent” brand of Christianity.
Another very popular progressive evangelical is Shane Claiborne. Shane studied under Tony Campolo at Eastern University. He was moved by Tony’s progressive social gospel message. He spent ten weeks with Mother Teresa in India then started an organization in Philadelphia to minister to the poor. Even though he works with the poor, his brand of Christianity does not line up with scripture. For example he says “Rarely are people converted by force of words…maybe we will find a mystical union of the spirits as (saint) Francis (of Assisi) did.” Both Mother Teresa and Francis of Assisi were devout Catholics and not necessarily born again believers.
He also expressed his friendship (during a concert at the LifeFest Musical Festival) and his alignment with Jim Wallis (the founder of the progressive liberal Sojourners magazine).
We first heard Shane speak at the National Youth Workers Convention. His unique theology shocked many of us and yet we found that he has become a pied piper among many evangelical youth workers.
These men are among a few so called progressive “emergent” type evangelicals who advocate a works oriented universal social gospel. Their departure from scripture appears to be unnoticed or diluted because of their popular book writing and public speaking. Their ability to sell their message to the masses is troubling.
The Bible warns us in Galatians 1:6 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel” KJV
I tell young people all the time that it is important we know our Bible so well that when a person teaches false doctrines we can spot
it right away and not buy into it.
When you hear of the Emerging church , the post modern Christian or the progressive movement be aware of their teachings and philosophies. It may sound good, but it’s message is not from the Word of God.