For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, ESV)
Clouding The Lens So You Can’t See
Here at Apprising Ministries I’m doing what I can, as but one man, to show you why it is that back in November of 2005 I told you that the Emerging Church—as a developing neo-liberal cult—is following along the lines of what the late Dr. Walter Martin, a recognized expert in cults having their origin in the United States, labeled “the cult of liberal theology.”
In concluding his lecture, which specifically concerns the forebears of this Emergent Church, Martin emphatically stated of modern theology aka liberalism:
It is a cult because it follows every outlined structure of cultism; it’s own revelations; it’s own gurus, and it’s denial—systematically—of all sound systematic Christian theology. It is a cult because it passes its leadership on to the next group that takes over—either modifying, expanding or contracting—the same heresies; dressing them up in different language, and passing them on. It is theologically corrupt because it is bibliologically corrupt; it denies the authority of Scripture, it ruins its own theology. And it ends in immorality; because the only way you could have gotten to this homosexual, morally relativistic, garbage—which is today in our denominational structures—is if the leadership of those denominations denied the authority of the Scriptures and Jesus Christ as Lord.
That is the only way you got there. And there’s a remedy for this, my brothers and sisters; the remedy is to start asking questions, start demanding definitions of terminology; start insisting that people tell you what they’re giving your money to before you give them a dime. Examine the people that occupy the chairs of theology in the seminaries, and if they are not given to the historic Christian faith—”out with the rascals!” Examine your churches, your sessions, your Baptist boards—and everything else—and find out who is in the faith. You’re told to do that in 1 Corinthians; you’re told to do it in Galatians, you’re told to do it everywhere in Scripture—examine to see whether you’re in the faith [see—2 Corinthians 13:5].
Test all things; make sure of what is true [see—1 Thessalonians 5:21]. I’m not being harsh; I’m not being judgmental. I am being thoroughly, consistently, Christian; in the light of historic theology, and the holy Bible. And I think we have a right to demand that the men who occupy the seats of learning, and who preach from the pulpits, either preach Jesus Christ; or cut off their pensions, their salaries, their golf club memberships, and let them go earn their living as social workers because it is obvious they don’t have any theology that is going to save anybody. With Luther, here I stand; God help me, I can do no other. 
Judging by Dr. Martin’s reference to Luther, and earlier in his lecture admitting, “I risk my credibility when I say it as bluntly as this,” he didn’t make these statements without much thought and prayer. If you’re at all following the development of the EC it would be pretty hard to miss the uncanny resemblance it has to the original cult of liberalism, and its own offshoot Progressive Christianity. Having long studied liberalism myself, this is what I’ve been attempting to show you in recent articles such as Philip Clayton And The Emerging Church 2.0 and Philip Clayton And His Transforming Theology.
Modern/liberal theology was the doomed attempt to come up with a verison of Christianity compatable with the modern culture of its day; and with the EC, what we’re dealing with is the same ill-fated idea; only this time to a postmodern culture. You also need to know that the latest book by Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity (ANKoC), begins laying out systematically the newer postmodern form of progressive Christianity—Liberalism 2.0—that the EC has been advancing through its Emergence Christianity, which it truly does see as the new reformation of the church.
And as you can see e.g. in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Panel Discussion On Brian McLaren Dr. Al Mohler and some of his professors recently held a round table discussion on ANKoC; and Dr. Mohler himself said, “If you actually read the Bible, you are going to end up having to say that this is a dishonest attempt to make the Bible say what is does not say.” The reason being, McLaren’s book “amounts to an undermining of the biblical storyline of creation-fall-redemption-consummation.”  So it’s not like some evangelical leaders haven’t been able to see ANKoC itself for what it is; a theology that’s already compatable with liberalism.
In fact, this is the heart of the matter; Brian McLaren claims to be evangelical all the while espousing a newer hybrid form of progressive Christian theology that’s completely at odds with evangelicalism, and which is still being cobbled together by his friends like Harvey Cox and Philip Clayton. Dr. Michael Horton is very helpful here as he correctly teaches us that:
The term [evangelical] itself derives from the Greek word euangelion, translated “Gospel,” and it became a noun when the Protestant reformers began their work of bringing the “one holy, catholic and apostolic church” back to that message by which and for which it was created. People still used other labels, too, like “Lutheran,” “Reformed,” and later, “Puritans,” “Pietists,” and “Wesleyans.”
Nevertheless, the belief was that the same Gospel that had united the “evangelicals” against Rome’s errors could also unite them against the creeping naturalism and secularism of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. The so-called “Evangelical Awakening” in Britain coincided with America’s own “Great Awakening,” as Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Tennant, and so many others centered their preaching on the atonement. (Online source)
Brian McLaren can’t even see the evangelical neighborhood from where he’s currently drifted to; and in my opinion frankly, I don’t think he even wants to see it. It’s also interesting to note that we’ve not heard a public peep concerning ANKoC from other emerging “evangelicals” who have worked very closely with McLaren such as Dan Kimball and Alan Hirsch. Yet there they are currently working alongside Ed Stetzer, president of Lifeway Research of the Southern Baptist Convention, along with reformed evangelical pastor Tim Keller in something called MissionSHIFT, and its new “Missional Manifesto.”
Now I’ll show you why the silence by such as these, who’ve been closely—and publicly—associated with McLaren, as it concerns his gross misrepresentation of the historic, orthodox, Christian faith is so harmful. Today something called Patheos, which bills itself as having “Balanced Views of Religion and Spirituality,” tweeted:
We’re told in About Patheos:
Founded in 2008, Patheos.com is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs. Patheos is the website of choice for the millions of people looking for credible and balanced information or resources about religion. (Online source)
Brian McLaren Evangelical Who Doesn’t Believe What Evangelical Christians Believe
The link in the tweet takes us to A New Kind of Christianity, An Interview with Brian McLaren By Deborah Arca Mooney, which I also found under their “evangelical” link as well. And, as of this writing, in the evangelical section we also find as one of the featured pieces the March 22, 2010 article Why Liberal Is Not a Bad Word, which is another interview with the heretical Brian McLaren conducted by Timothy Dalrymple, whom we’re told is Evangelical Portal Manager. What should concern leaders within the evangelical community is that McLaren continues passing himself off as somehow evangelical.
He really is becoming the source of much obfuscation of the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ within the broader visible church as evidenced within that former interview by Deborah Arca Mooney. If you didn’t know, while linking the article at the Presbymergent website, EC voice Adam Cleaveland Walker tells us that Mooney is “a progressive Presbyterian as well as the Mainline Protestant Portal Manager for Patheos.” And according to Cleaveland:
She describes the interview in this way:
The interview was written from my perspective as a progressive Presbyterian and my interest in his cross-over appeal and work in building bridges across theological divides and religions. I had the opportunity to ask him a host of questions about his to reading “new kind of christianity,” including his unconventional approach to reading the Bible, the future of the emergent movement, what mainliners and evangelicals can learn from each other, inter-religious friendship, his views on the church’s response to homosexuality, and the spiritual practices that keep him grounded. (Online source)
As Mooney sets the stage for the interview she shows us the far-reaching impact McLaren’s currently having as an alleged evangelical:
On a recent Friday night at Montview Presbyterian Church in Denver, CO, I joined a sanctuary full of progressive mainline Protestants and a smattering of young evangelicals, Catholics and agnostics to listen to a lecture by “one of America’s 25 most influential evangelicals” (Time Magazine).
Brian McLaren, one of the leading voices of the Emergent Church movement, was in town promoting his latest book, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that Are Transforming the Faith and clearly winning fans across theological divides with his honest probing and unconventional discussion of the central questions of our faith. (Online source)
McLaren is no brother of mine; and as a minister of the Gospel, I see the above as a sad description of a man spreading apostasy “across theological divides” and shipwrecking the faith of “evangelicals” who are foolish enough to listen to him. Yet Mooney begins by informing us that McLaren does “self-identify as a evangelical”; and he does not deny it. She points out that in spite of his supposedly being evangelical he still packs out “church halls and auditoriums with mainline Protestants, Catholics, agnostics, and seekers.” Then she asks McLaren, “What is it in your message that seems to resonate with so many?” He relies:
My background is evangelical, but I believe there is a powerful convergence happening — what I would call progressive evangelicals (or post-evangelicals) coming together with post-liberal mainliners and progressive (or Vatican II) Catholics. And many of the “spiritual but not religious” are finding hope and support in this convergence as well. I hope my work can foster this convergence, because I believe our future together can be so much more rich and vigorous than our divided past has been. (Online source)
Does that even remotely sound like evangelical doctrine to you? Lord willing, another time I’ll cover this “convergence” further; here I’ll simply tell you that McLaren’s talking about the belief within the Emerging Church of the “emergence” of a new evolution in mankind upward into a higher consciousness, which they think will bring forth a “convergence” of other religions following God in the way of Jesus. In fact, the upcoming Emerging Christianity: HOW we get there determines WHERE we arrive conference being put on by Roman Catholic mystic Richard Rohr, a fellow Red Letter Christian with McLaren, puts it this way:
Continuing on with the exploration begun at last year’s Emerging Church conference, the CAC is thrilled to invite you to another large gathering of Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, and other Christians seeking to explore this emergence and convergence together. We hope to inspire and challenge you with the lens of non-dual thinking, a new politics and a new theology rooted in the “third way.”
Join. . .for 3 days of spiritual enrichment, challenge and shared exploration as we envision what the Christian community can be and do in this generation and in generations to come. (Online source, bold theirs)
The conference also features a couple of other Red Letter Christians in Shane Claiborne and progressive Christian historian Diana Butler Bass. Ok, if “the lens of non-dual thinking, a new politics and a new theology rooted in the ‘third way'” sounds evangelical to you then you really do need to have your spiritual head examined. For now, let alert you to the phrase “a new theology”; this would be that new version of progressive/liberal theology—Liberalism 2.0—which McLaren shares in ANKoC, and which progressive/process theologian Philip Clayton’s busy constructing along with his Transforming Theology project.
For more on this see the videos below containing a “challenge” from Philip Clayton concerning the science of emergence theory and its application in the Emerging Church as well as the response below it from progressive EC theologian Tony Jones. Therein you’ll hear Jones tell Clayton that what Clayton’s talking about concerning this coming emergence is actually what he and his universalist pastor Doug Pagitt, McLaren, and Phyllis Tickle have indeed been writing about in their recent books. So in closing this, for now, I am warning you again that the evangelical community ignores these false prophets at its own peril.
Your Young Adult and Youth groups have been fed their neo-liberal theological poison for years now under the guise of “alternate worship.” Try: Alternate faith. As a pastor, I suggest in the strongest terms possible that you make note that the same people, as interlocking concentric circles of apostastes, keep connecting with each other around the Emerging Church advancing together this man-pleasing de-formation of the Christian faith. And Brian McLaren is a master of the Humpty Dumpty language of douplespeak that’s necessary for this new cult of liberalism to accomplish within the mainstream what Dr. Walter Martin uncovered the original cult of liberalism doing to the mainline denominations years ago.
1. Walter Martin, (circa 1985) The Cult of Liberalism, CD Rom, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet.
2. http://news.sbts.edu/2010/03/11/mclaren%E2%80%99s-new-book-is-merely-a-fresh-take-on-an-old-lie-sbts-panelists-say/, accessed 3/25/10.
3. http://presbymergent.org/2010/03/25/a-new-kind-of-christianity/, accessed 3/25/10.