“I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy I will feed them with judgment.” (Ezekiel 34:15-16)
The PostLiberal Cult Of The Emergent Church
As we continue connecting the dots here at Apprising Ministries we build upon today’s post at Slice of Laodicea called Headlong Into Apostasy and How Spiritual Formation Became Popularized from Christian Research Net. May we read these of these issues and loudly weep for the future state of the church. What follows below are some excerpts from a lecture given by Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) nearly twenty-one years ago from this writing.
For those who don’t know Dr. Martin was a widely recognized authority in the field of non-Christian cults and Comparative Religion. The idea behind this article is to provide you with the opportunity to see for yourself the startling similarity of here with what is currently being spewed into your evangelical churches by leaders within the highly ecumenical and semi-pelagian (at best) the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC)—such as Brian McLaren and Rob Bell.
Though my studies encompass far more than just this, I have stated on occasion that I received much training through Dr. Martin’s fine labor in the Lord. And for the record there are issues with which I disagree with Dr. Martin as well. That aside however, in the last few years prior to his going home to be with the Lord he so eloquently defended Dr. Martin had been lecturing about what he had labeled “The Cult of Liberal Theology.” The excerpts below are taken from a the DVD version of a lecture, which is entitled Cult of Liberal Theology.
This important resource is still available from the Walter Martin Religious InfoNet and I highly recommend it for those who actually want to know the theological source behind this Emerging Church movement launched by Leadership Network through their Terranova Project circa 1997. Too bad evangelicals didn’t heed the warning in this lecture ten years ago. Now twenty years later I dare say it may likely part of a final warning from God the Holy Spirit to the nearly spiritually comatose evangelical community during this New Downgrade No-Controversy. O how tragic it is that at such a critical time in the American Christian Church there is no voice like Dr. Walter Martin to sound a clarion call.
Say what you will about Martin, but he did his homework and he was absolutely unafraid to confront the “modern theology” you’ll see below. This would be the same liberal theology that was already injecting its deadly demonic poison into the mainline denominations even as he was sounding the trumpet and which has subsequently killed them. Men and women, and what do we currently see being injected into our mainstream denominations? Post, as in after, modern theology. I also highly recommend listening to a similar lecture in audio form called The Cult of Liberalism, which goes into even more depth.
It truly is as the introduction for that resource reads, “Like a cancer, it destroys the ‘body’ and corrupts the faith.” Anyone who watches this lecture, or listens to the suggested audio, will have zero doubt as to why—back in November of 2005—I labeled this Emerging Church movement for what it it, a cult. So I wrote an article Emergent Church: The Emerging Cult where I pointed out that Dr. Martin defined a religious cult:
as a group of people claiming to be Christians–gathered around a specific person–or group of people’s interpretation of the Bible. The group then denies Cardinal doctrines of the historic orthodox Christian faith, and most notably the full Deity of Christ.
The red herring is: “Very few in the emerging church have denied Christ’s Deity.” Well, not yet anyway. However, with Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism aka so-called “Christian” mysticism as a core doctrine we have already laid the necessary foundation for the denial of the Cardinal doctrines of Sola Scriptura and the Vicarious Penal Substitutionary Atonement by leading Emergent theologian Brian McLaren and at least Sola Scriptura by his emerging protégé Rob Bell. A perfect example is Emergent Church Theologian Tony Jones and his Unrepentant Homosexual Christians where you’ll see this influential theologian denying outright what the Scripture says concerning the sin of practicing homosexuality.
Progressive Christianity Enters Evangelicalism Stage Left
From my personal discussions for four years now with tons of followers in this postliberal cult of the EC—including many of its leaders—I can tell you they are indeed polarized around a specific group of people’s neo-orthodox (at best) interpretation of the Bible and their embrace of anti-Reformation neo-Gnostic mysticism. And so now I give you a bit of quick background concerning the book that Dr. Martin is referring to in his lecture below on how to discern liberal theology, which is known today in a postliberal form as Progressive Christianity as with, say, Living Spiritual Teacher Dr. Marcus Borg. By the way the counterfeit “Christian” clown that Martin will be speaking of is actually still infecting people with the spiritual cancer of this pro- re-gressive Christianity today.
His name is the Right Reverend Michael Ingham who:
has been bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada since January 1994. Before this he was Dean of New Westminster and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver…
He is the author of two books. Rites For A New Age, an introduction to the Book of Alternative Services, was published in 1986, and Mansions Of The Spirit, an introduction to inter-faith dialogue, appeared in 1997. He has also written many articles and book reviews, and speaks frequently to lay and professional groups across North America on current theological issues. In 1998 he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology. (Online source)
In preparing this message I did some further research to see what, if anything, Dr. Ingham might have been up to recently. Interestingly enough I see that progressive/postliberal theology is still up to it’s usual M.O. of sowing confusion, controversy and division within the American Christian Church. In the piece below from Gay South Floridaentitled “Canadian Anglicans voting on gay couples” it came as no surprise to see both Ingham and the openly gay “Bishop” Gene Robinson playing reptellian roles in “divisions over the Bible and homosexuality [which] are tearing at the world Anglican fellowship.” The June 2007 report states:
The world Anglican Communion is already in an uproar over the U.S. Episcopal Church’s 2003 consecration of the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire…
Separately, the Anglican Church of Canada came under fire in 2002, after Bishop Michael Ingham of the Diocese of New Westminster in British Columbia allowed parishes in his region to bless gay couples. (Online source)
And it actually isn’t all that “separately,” as although to my knowledge Ingham isn’t gay, let me point out that he was present when Robinson was “consecrated” as Bishop of New Hampshire (Online source). Also as birds of progressive postliberal feathers are wont to do the Inclusive Church website (which tells you about their “gospel”) informs us that Ingham and Robinson were both speakers at “the Halfway to Lambeth conference, organized by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement” a few years ago:
The conference is host to overseas visitors and keynote speakers from many parts of the Anglican Communion including: the Rt Revd Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster in Canada; the Revd Mario Ribas, a gay priest in the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil;… In addition, the Revd Canon V Gene Robinson – set to be the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion…will be taking part via a live satellite link. (Online source)
The Gospel Message Isn’t Ours To Change As It Belongs To God
So now you have a bit more background on the Right Reverend Dr. Michael Ingham whose book Rites for a New Age Dr. Walter Martin will now be quoting from. This will also enable you to see more clearly the gift of discernment Christ had given Martin because he had not known anything of Ingham prior to being given the book just the night before the lecture. As you read on remember this; the inclusivism (at best) and the universalism (at worst) behind this progressive/postliberal theology wants us to reimagine, to repaint, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But just as Martin will point out below below, so I remind you here: The message has already been delivered and we are to nothing else with it but to faithfully proclaim it:
What I’d like to do is to show you how Liberal Theology, which is a cult,…penetrates the Church. And the whole time it’s destroying you, it’s stroking you, so that you think you are hearing the Gospel but in reality the Gospel has been completely removed. What you are getting is the form of godliness; but you are not getting the substance, or the power of godliness…
At the end of this book [in] “Evangelism and other Religions,” page 186; you have the key to liberal theology. If you understand this you understand what’s happening to your churches, and what has happened to ours [in the United States.] Listen:
The Christendom church had a habit of gazing out upon the world and dividing humanity into two categories: The saved and the lost. Salvation was the gift of God granted in response to the individual’s act of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Common to all these denominations however was the belief that outside Christendom lay only the inevitability of damnation. The Church understood its task as taking the Christian faith to non-Christians and offering them the opportunity to come into the Church and be saved.
This man understands perfectly what the Gospel is:
Contemporary theology however is disposed to make more careful distinctions about the world beyond the boundaries of the Church.
Now first you get what the Church has always believed. Very accurate, that’s exactly what the Church believes. Now you get “contemporary theology”:
The great religions of the world may not be lumped together with more ephemeral and less substantial beliefs. EST and Islam are not equivalents in the history of human spirituality. Evangelism in the modern context makes it still the purpose of the Chucrch to make Christ known throughout the earth by works of devotion [and] service, to share the evangel of Jesus Christ with all man kind.
I want you to notice how the shift takes place. “The Church always believed you were saved, or lost. The Church believed its mandate was to carry the Gospel to everybody. However, in our modern day, we must understand that a change has taken place. How can we look at the great religions of the world and not realize their religious traditions”:
The great religions can’t all be lumped together with the cults. Evangelism in the modern context requires a more sensitive and discriminating task.
Ah, now what is this “discriminating task”:
It’s the purpose of the Church to make Christ known throughout the earth by works of devotion and service, to share the evangel of Jesus Christ with all man kind.
Boy, that sounds good.
It aims to show forth the Lord Jesus in acts of witness and faith.
Sounds great. Now listen:
Rather than to win souls who are deemed otherwise to be lost.
I want you to see this because it’s magnificent deception. “The task of the Church is the evangel. Preach the Gospel; we gotta do that!” Next sentence:
However, our aim should be to act as a witness of faith rather than win souls who are deemed otherwise to be lost.
No, [pounds pulpit] they’re not “deemed otherwise to be lost.” They are lost! That’s what you’ve got to get ito your head. If Jesus Christ is not Lord of all; He is not Lord at all! If He is not the sovereign Creator and the eternal incarnate Word of God made flesh; if His blood is not peace with God, then it’s all damn nonsense.
Take the whole kit an’ kaboodle of Christian theology, tie a pink bow around it and throw it the ash can. Because it’s not worth anything if Jesus isn’t Who He said He was. And if He didn’t come out of the tomb the third day and present Himself alive with infallible proof, He is no different than Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius or any other false teacher in the history of mankind.
And God blew it. He didn’t send Himself into the world in the Person of Jesus Christ to save us, because the world doesn’t need saving; it isn’t lost! Each on is pursuing God by one’s own path. We are all on different trains but we are all headed for the same railroad station. In effect, Christianity becomes one of many equally good ways. Jesus is part of the truth and the life, but He is not Lord of all.
The apostates like this [shows back cover of book] are far more dangerous than the cults because they are inside the church feeding cyanide–sugar-coated–to the congregations. And the people are listening to it and saying, “That’s right, we have to evangelize. That’s right; we have to tell people the truth of the Gospel. We have to bear witness to the Lord Jesus.” All those words are there. And the next sentence is:
We should do this rather than win souls who are deemed otherwise to be lost.
Well, are they lost? Jesus said God so loved the world He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish. “Oh, you mean somebody’s going to perish?” Not in today’s modern theology. Write this one word down, it will give you the key to understanding them. They are universalists. Universalists.
Everybody is going to be saved. So don’t evangelize the Jew. Don’t proselytize Islam. Don’t preach the Gospel to the people in pagan lands and tell them that they’re lost, because they’re not lost! They have not reached our level yet. But never mind; they’re still going to be saved.
An imperial theology characterized the Anglican approach to other religious traditions, thus the “Collect For Good Friday in the 1662 Prayer Book reads this way…
He doesn’t like this:
Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, infidels and heretics and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart and contempt for Thy Word and so fetch them home blessed Lord to Thy flock that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites and be made one fold under one Shepherd.
That’s the Anglican Prayer book 1662, and it’s absolutely Biblical. The Turks, the Jews, and the people that they were talking about rejected Jesus Christ. They were lost. Heretics and infidels were lost. And the Anglican Church then said, “Dear Lord, save them.”
The Anglican Church today says, “This is an Imperial theology; and you can’t have an imperial theology.” I wonder if he thinks the Kingdom of God is a democracy. It isn’t you know. The Kingdom of God is, we don’t vote on what we think God ought to do. The message has been delivered.
God said, “Do it this way.” And we say, “We’ll vote on it. God said, “Do it this way. We’ll call a council. God said, “Do it THIS way.” We’ll have an ecumenical conclave. That’s our response in the apostate Church today. The fact that God said it doesn’t mean anything anymore.
Dr. Martin goes on to explain that once he was at a theological conference and one of the speakers there said that the Apostle Paul was “mistaken” for accepting Adam and Eve as literal people. Martin then shows how denigration of this type concerning the Apostle Paul is also to deny the full inspiration of Holy Scripture itself. Then Martin says:
A professor at the theological seminary in California–Fuller Seminary–I’ll name it, was teaching his class, we have the notes and the recording of the class, and he said, “You need to understand that Jesus was a child of His times.” Jesus now! “[He’s] a child of His times. I mean, He could make mistakes.”
Dr. Martin tells us the professor’s example was that Jesus was wrong when He taught that, “the mustard seed is the smallest seed in the all the world.” But professor would go to say that “modern science” has proven this is not true. And according to this professor since:
“Jesus didn’t know that, and so Jesus was mistaken. But that shouldn’t change our mind about Jesus. He was capable of making a mistake on mustard seeds. That was His humanity.”
Well listen, if He’s capable of making mistakes on mustard seeds; when He made them–He created them–then obviously, one might begin to wonder about some of His other teachings, mighten one?
Well now, let’s say you’re a Rob Bell studying for your Master’s at that same Fuller Theological Seminary. Why, because of such teachings you might even possibly come away with the idea that your doctrine needs to be more like the springs of a trampoline to stretch with doubt rather than be as unbending as bricks certainly are in a wall. I talk further about this in Rob Bell: Trampolinianity Hits A Brick Wall. And with such a professor sowing his humanism the possibility even exists that you might choose to use as an example of your bankrupt the doctrine of Christ’s Virgin Birth as I show you in Rob Bell: “Trampolinianity” and the Virgin Birth.
In any event, Dr. Martin dismantles the professor’s tired theory as he tells us about a botanist who had heard that lecture:
made a survey of all the seeds in the world, and particularly in the Mediterranean area where Jesus lived. And it turned out that the smallest seed in the known world of the Mediterranean world was the mustard seed. Has the professor changed his lecture? No, Jesus still makes mistakes.
So [in liberal theology] your have a flawed Apostle, and you have a flawed Christ. [You] have a flawed Bible and a flawed Christianity. And what do you turn out of your seminar? Flawed theologians. Who [then] go into churches and flaw the people. And then we’re not supposed to be upset about it.
We’re supposed to say, “Well, there’s room in the Church for everybody.” [pounds the pulpit] No! Throw the rascals out! Clean the seminaries out! It’s our money they’re using anyhow. And the quickest way to deal with liberal theology in Canada and in the United States is “the gospel of the checkbook.” Did you know that? That works better than anything else.
Just write to the denominational headquarters and say, “I’m not going to give you one more dime; and my church isn’t going to give you one more dime, until you get rid of these rascals that are perverting the Gospel.” Amazing what an effect it has. [It] stimulates almost instantaneous repentance.
(excerpts from The Cult of Liberal Theology, DVD, Chapter 4, 0:19:50 – 8, 0:35:43)