See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8, ESV)

Postmodern Word Games

Apprising Ministries is an online apologetics and discernment work specializing in analyzing current trends in the visible church apprising you as to what they are and how you can deal with them. One trend we’ve watched very carefully since 2005 was the rise of the Emerging Church; now a full-blown neo-liberal cult operating within mainstream evangelicalism, which also proved to be a Trojan Horse unloading critical-thinking skills numbing Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism under the guise of so-called Spiritual Formation.

Recently in Contemplative Law, The Gospel Of Grace, And Frank Viola that essentially this sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church and its Emergence Christianity is a new postmodern form of Progessive Christianity, which Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren has begun laying out in his latest book A New Kind of Christianity. As with neo-orthodoxy ala Karl Barth postmodernism is “anti-logical” and “embraces Paradox” [1] while deconstructionists viciously attack rational thought with what’s commonly known as irrational philosophy:

Irrational philosophies accordingly stress the will at the expense of reason, as exemplified in the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre or Karl Jaspers. (Online source)

Roughly put, its influence in our culture is why you’ll so often hear people say things like: “With all my heart I feel that’s a good thing”; in other words, truth is being decided by how someone feels as opposed to what is objectively know. Dr. Gene Veith, Culture Editor of World Magazine and former Associate Professor of English at Concordia University-Wisconsin, tells us this all results in “postmodernism assum[ing] that there is no objective truth, that moral values are relative, and that reality is socially constructed” by various “communities.” Veith then explains:

Whereas modernism sought to rid the world of religion, postmodernism spawns new ones. Unconstrained by objectivity, tradition, reason, or morality, these new faiths differ radically from Christianity. They draw on strains of the most ancient and primitive paganism. Even the deconstructionists speak in mystical terms…

The deconstructionists dissolve every positive statement, every rational argument, every truth claim—destroying form, they say, so as to open up what lies beyond the possibilities of representation… The inadequacies of language will be left behind,… Postmodernism, in its rejection of objective truth, have clear affinities with Hinduism and Buddhism, which teach that the external world is only an illusion spun by the human mind. [2]

Because of this, in his excellent sermon A Beginner’s Guide to Postmodernism Phil Johnson, executive director of John MacArthur’s fine Grace to You ministry and who blogs at the popular Pyromaniacs blog would say:

I am convinced that postmodernism is inherently incompatible with biblical Christianity; and in fact, the most essential elements of post modernism are hostile to the fundamental truth claims of Scripture. And for that reason, I would argue that a postmodern mindset involves some positively sinful ways of thinking. [3]

This is the backdrop against which to read Emergent Polytheism? , excellent article by Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough, host of the Fighting for the Faith program on Pirate Christian Radio. Rosebrough begins:

Are postmodern emergents beginning to embrace polytheism? One of the newer voices in Emergent Church circles is George Elerick. George is a prolific blogger, writer, poet and contributor to the Huffington Post. I am not sure where George studied theology but one thing is certain, he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he should stop writing on the topic of religion before he hurts himself and others. (Online source)

Now before the emerging whining begins, I’ll tell you that Rosebrough has personally spoken via email with Elerick many times, as have I; and George Elerick seems to be a very nice and sincere man, which is not even at issue here. Elerick’s Twitter bio informs us that he’s:

heretic.outlaw. a thought salesman.blindman.lover.writer.poet.peacemaker.
(Online source)

Elerick is a member of the EC TransFORM: a missional community formation network and is also friends with heretical universalist EC pastor Doug Pagitt:

My friend George Elerick @atravelersnote wrote a Huffington Post article @ my friend @PhilShepherd, thanks @brycmay (Online source)

The link takes us to Elerick’s HuffPost piece What Is the Eucatastrophe and Why Should It Matter to Christianity?, which I covered previously in Emerging Church Of The Future With The Whiskey Preacher. George Elerick has also contributed at least four articles for the well known and popular Next-Wave Ezine published by Charlie Wear; well you get the idea, Elerick has a growing sphere of influence within the Emerging Church scene. And Elerick also has a personal blog known as The Love Revolution (TLR) where he’s even republished some of our email exchanges.

It’s because Elerick not only contributes to EC and liberal publications, but also to the more mainstream Next-Wave Ezine, aimed as it is at “Christians from all walks of life, including pastors, church planters and leaders across denominational and national borders,” that we now have real concern about his bad doctrine. Especially so when Rosebrough tells us that in his latest TLR article entitled “the jesus-daddy: another look at the word abba” Elerick really sets out “mishandling of the Bible and the Hebrew language.” Rosebrough informs us:

In this post George, like and untrained swordsman tries to wield the Word of God in order to see what happens when he begins playing around with the meanings of different Hebrew words in an attempt to discover postmodern “spiritual insights”. The conclusions drawn by George’s mishandling of the Hebrew language are truly sad and should cause us to pause and pray for George and those listening to him because he is twisting God’s word to his own destruction (2Pet. 3:16)… (Online source)

Rosebrough first points out that “a prime example of George’s mishandling of God’s Word and the Hebrew language” would be “regarding the Hebrew word” echad, which Elerick even misspells as ehad. Rosebrough then sets the record straight concerning Elerick’s attempt at deconstruction of the nature of the one true and living God of the Bible while using irrational philosophy:

1. The Hebrew word in question is Echad not Ehad. There is a difference between the Hebrew letters He and Het. If George knew the Hebrew language I seriously doubt he’d have made such a basic mistake. (The Hebrew alphabet is usually taught on the first day of Hebrew 101.)

2. Jews are monotheists not polytheists. The Hebrew Old Testament is replete with examples of the Jews abandoning the one true God (YHWH) and engaging in syncretism by disobediently mixing Judaism with the idolatrous pagan religions of the Canaanites. Not once were these syncretistic practices ever looked on favorably in the Hebrew Scriptures. In fact, YHWH regularly describes those who’ve abandoned the exclusive worship of Him as spiritual whores (Ezek. 16:1-63). Why? Because there is no other God but YHWH.

Elerick’s spurious polytheistic claim that YHWH was a member of a “council of gods” and an equal colleague of Baal under the rule of El is not taught in the Hebrew Old Testament and is easily debunked with just a cursory understanding of the Hebrew Old Testament.
(Online source

Elerick is a prototype postmodern; from talking with him I’ve seen he has about zero interest in actual facts, and instead is simply content to cobble together his own synthentic worldview, and vacuous version of Christianity, which is so common in Emerging Church circles. In addition to what Chris Rosebrough brought out, when I first read Elerick’s post what jumped out at me is Elerick’s denial that Jesus Christ of Nazereth is the monogenes, the Only-Begotten i.e. Unique Son of God. Elerick muses:

I am not questioning whether Jesus was God, how he was God is a whole different question. I also think that we don’t take his claims far enough, in several different places he invites us to see and interact with God equally as he himself does. This is another inflammatory statement, he is not only saying that he is divine, but that we are too. He also isn’t stating that he is the only ’son of god’, but that we are too… (Online source)

But as I explained to Elerick in the combox at his TLR blog:

“[Jesus] is not only saying that he is divine, but that we are too. He also isn’t stating that he is the only ’son of god’, but that we are too…”

No; Jesus is, in His uncreated nature, God Who took on human nature as well. We, as created beings, are not divine i.e. God.

Only those who are regenerate have the divine nature implanted within them per God the Holy Spirit (e.g. Romans 8:5-11). (Online source)

This is the kind of foolishness being taught in the Name of God; but no matter how nice and sincere a false teacher like George Elerick may be, those of us who love Jesus will not allow people to teach false doctrine about Him in order to glorify mankind. The Bible is crystal clear what should be done with such as these Postmodern Apostles Of Unbelief who’re busy sowing their confusion and doubt within the church visible:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (Romans 16:17-18, ESV)

And Lord willing, this is precisely what I shall continue to do here at Apprising Ministries. Soli Deo gloria!


[1] Gordon Clark, In Defense of Theology [Milford: Mott Media, 1984], 58, 61.
[2] Gene Veith, Jr., Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture [Wheaton: Crossway, 1994] , 193, 198, 199.
[3], accessed 6/10/10.

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