The online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries has been covering the rise within mainstream squishy evanjellyfish of the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church with its quasi-universalism in a new version of Progressive Christian theology under their spiritual circus “big tent” of the Liberalism 2.0 often referred to by these rebels against sola Scriptura as Emergence Christianity.

Among those heavily involved with the sociological development of this new form of liberalism is Tony Campolo, also a leading spokeman for something known as Red Letter Christians. In his post What’s a ‘Red-Letter Christian’? Campolo tells how this group began and who was involved; you’ll see that it includes his friends Brian McLaren and Roman Catholic mystic Richard Rohr:

Recently, I met with a group of religious leaders who have become increasingly disturbed by the alliance between evangelical Christians and the Republican Party… The meeting was joined by the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine; Father Richard Rohr, a well-known Catholic writer and speaker; Brian McLaren, a leader of the emergent church movement;… we decided not to call ourselves “progressive evangelicals.” We came up with a new name: Red-Letter Christians. (Online source)

It’s also important to note that this spiritual motley crew has now swelled to include such EC notables as Shane Claiborne, progressive/liberal theologian Tony JonesJim Wallis and progressive/liberal mainline historian Diana Butler Bass. This brings us to a tweet yesterday from Tony Campolo:

(Online source)

That link takes us to Tony’s tirade at the Red Letter Christians blog, which is entitled Why the Religious Right Will Dominate. Campolo begins by taking us into the postmodern Wonderland of Humpty Dumpty language where words are bent and shaped like Play-Doh:

There are reasons why Religious Right Evangelicals will continue to dominate religious discourse, not only in their own sector of the Christian community, but also in what transpires in mainline denominations. Moderate voices, for the most part, are being sidelined and those with liberal views will find fewer and fewer means to express their opinions or gain an audience for their convictions. (Online source)

Mainline dernominations succumbed long ago to what the late cult expert Dr. Walter Martin labeled the Cult of Liberal Theology, and the so-called religious right had zero to do with that. As Martin pointed out circa 1985:

every major theological seminary that has turned from orthodox Christianity began with disbelief of Biblical doctrine. There wasn’t a single exception. This corrupt Bibliology then lead them to the next step. Their Theology began to be touched by it, their view of the Cross, the Virgin Birth were both immediately questioned; then came the miracles of Christ.

And finally they had emptied the Gospel of all its content; they were simply using the outward shell so that they go on collecting money from the people and the churches; because they knew that if the people in the pew knew that they were apostate, they’d throw them out. So the strategy was hang on to the trust funds; hang on to the money we’ve got; hang on the properties we control, and we will gradually educate the laymen into this new approach to theology.
(The Cult of Liberalism, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet)

Once you deny the Virgin Birth of Christ Jesus our Lord you have denied Who He is and have no connection to the Savior; i.e. you are apostate, at best. Dr. Al Mohler sums up the position well when he says:

The authority of the Bible is almost completely gone where liberal theology holds its sway. The authority of the Bible is replaced with the secular worldview of the modern age and the postmodern denial of truth itself. The true church stands without apology upon the authority of the Bible and declares that Jesus was indeed “born of a virgin.” Though the denial of this doctrine is now tragically common, the historical truth of Christ’s birth remains inviolate. No true Christian can deny the virgin birth. (Online source)

In the same way, the true Christian has no basis for fellowship with those who have denied Who Jesus is; in Scripture they’re referred to as false prophets and teachers:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

You can almost hear the hiss as Campolo takes his swipe against what he calls “old-time gospel preaching.” Yeah, we wouldn’t want the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name getting in the way of Campolo and his Red Letter Christian (RLC) cohorts as they corrupt the church visible with their emerging form of neo-fascist dominionism. In his screed Campolo complains about “how the Religious Right,” what ever that is, has come “into its dominating role,” and how totally ambiguous:

Religious Right laypersons came to realize that with very little effort just a few of them are able to exercise enormous influence on what happens and who speaks at any kind of religious gathering. If a particular speaker who does not fit their profile of someone they deem politically and theologically “safe,” they know that just a half dozen phone calls to the offices of the sponsoring organizations or to a denominational office can lead to the cancellation of that speaker.

Sadly, sponsors of such gatherings as youth conventions, denominational rallies, and other popular mass religious gatherings are overly sensitive to such complaints. In cowardly fashion, otherwise reasonable church leaders are easily intimidated and quickly yield to the demands of Religious Right critics.

What makes matters worse is that the internet helps cantankerous, disgruntled right-wing Evangelicals to spread far and wide anything about any moderate or progressive Christian leaders they want silenced. Lies and distortions can be spread, via the internet, in an inexpensive way, and the effects are astounding. (Online source)

Oh-kay; it’s not like heretics and apostates are using the Internet to spread their universal message of the mystic mush god with a man-shaped hole in his/her/it’s heart, eh. Then after telling us about some unnamed speaker who allegedly was disinvited to some unkown service because of supposedly “false rumors” by more anonymous bloggers Campolo really leaves reality behind as he says:

This same kind of tyranny has taken over the Christian publishing business. Christian bookstores, nationwide, tend to be owned and operated by well meaning people who want to propagate their faith through the sale of Christian books. Again, a handful of complaints raised about some authors that Religious Right Evangelicals consider “dangerous” will have the books written by such authors sent back to the distribution houses of the publishers. It doesn’t take these publishers long to recognize whose books they should put in print if they want Christian bookstores to put their books on the shelves. (Online source)

Hardly; Zondervan alone publishes many authors propagating Campolo et al’s version of the Christian faith; the fact is, since 1997 the church has been bombarded with books from leaders within the Emerging Church. Even Campolo himself says:

The good news is that moderates and progressives, in spite of all the problems caused by the internet for those who do not have the Religious Right’s “good housekeeping seal of approval,” through the internet have found ways of getting their messages out to any who are open to what they are saying. (Online source)

Moderates and progressives, these are the people Campolo and his brood wish to advance; for example fellow RLC’s like Brian McLaren and Tony Jones, progressive theologian in residence at the church of universalist EC pastor Doug Pagitt. In closing this, for now, here’s a little taste of what so-called progressive Christianity teaches. All of mankind is already children of God; and something called The Center for Progressive Christianity informs us:

(Online source)

As I’ve said before this “big tent” progressive Christianity incorporates the speculations of emergence theory within evolutionary science because many in the EC believe that, right now, mankind is in the process of evolving upward into a higher state of consciousness. To give you a further glimpse at what this man-centered Liberalism 2.0 looks like consider the following by Dr. R. Scott Thornton, Director of Sacred Grounds Resource Center, from his book Inclusive Christianity: A Progressive Look at Faith:

Each major religion has helped a people reach and develop a relationship with God. God’s truth is revealed to people in many different religions. Mother Teresa understood this. She wasn’t interested in proselytizing. She evangelized with her acts of compassion. She never demeaned other religions. At one point she remarked, “We ought to help Jews become better Jews and Hindus become better Hindus.”[1] 

Thornton informs us that when “people are practicing their religion” sincerely, “as it was originally intended,” and provided it’s “not a distorted version,” then people “should be encouraged” to continue on with whatever faith tradition they are part of. He then quotes Jimmy Carter from his book Our Endangered Values where Carter tells us we need to break “through” the “barrier” of surrounding “ourselves in a superior fashion with people who are just like us.” Carter says that “reaching out to others is what personifies a Christian” as this is “the perfect example that Christ set for us.”

If you’re tempted to think this is just a quote from some obscure book you should know that no less an authority as Campolo’s friend and fellow RLC Richard Rohr himself says emphatically:

This excellent book deserves a broad reading! Unless we bring R. Scott Thornton’s kind of faith-filled intelligent response to our Scriptures and practice, I see little ability for Christianity to heal, transform our world. With this kind of wisdom, which is merely Jesus’ wisdom, we can do just that![2]

However, the message of Christianity is the Gospel, not bringing the man-centered musings of dominionism in order “to heal, transform our world.” Next Brian McLaren’s pal Dr. Philip Clayton—a leading architect in the emergence of big tent circus Christianity—tells us that Hal Taussig, “New Testament professor” at Union Theological Seminary gives a “beautiful summary” of this progressive Christianity. Taussig tells us the following, which should immediately arrest our attention, and it gives us even more cause to reject this progressive neo-liberal, or postmodern liberal, de-formation of Christianity:

4. The belief that Christianity can be vital without claiming to be the best or the only true religion. In contrast to mainstream Christianity’s lukewarm “tolerance” of other religions, progressive Christianity pro-actively asserts that it is not the best or the only. Progressive Christians take pains to simultaneously their own Christian faith and their support of the complete validity of other religions.
(Grassroots Progressive Christianity: A Quiet Revolution, bold his)

Note carefully: Progressive Christians “pro-actively” assert Christianity is not “the only” way to God and also lend their ”support of the complete validity of other religions.” Christians should support a person’s right to believe whatever they wish to about God; but that being said, we must not deceive people into thinking they are actually worshipping the one true and living God apart from being regenerated in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:20).

Finally, consider the following by The Center for Progressive Christianity, where the heretical John Shelby Spong and Living Spiritual Teacher Dr. Marcus Borg are Honorary Advisors. This is from About Us—The 8 Points:

Point 2: Pluralism By calling ourselves progressive, we mean we are Christians who… Recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God’s realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us. (Online source, emphasis mine)

Since, as with the original liberalism, this neo-liberalism is in direct contradiction to e.g. John 8:24 and John 14:6 I’ll say it here again: Progessive Christianity is neither progressive nor Christian.


[1] R. Scott Thornton, Inclusive Christianity: A Progressive Look at Faith [Pasadena: Hope Publishing House, 2009], 28, emphasis mine. 

[2]  Ibid., back cover.

See also: