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Emergent Church Leaders: Wolves in Shepherds’ Clothing!

Published Oct 10, 2008
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Ken Blanchard, an Emergent Church leader wrote, “Does Buddha have anything to offer non-Buddhists in the work place? My answer is a wholehearted, ‘Yes.’” (Ken Blanchard, co-author of the One Minute Manager, from the foreword and front cover of What Would Buddha Do in the Workplace?) Ken also wrote, “Our folks get to hear words of wisdom from great prophets and spiritual 
leaders like Buddha, Mohammed…Yogananda and the Dalai Lama.” Rick Warren, David Jeremiah, Chuck Swindoll, and many others endorse contemplative leaders such as Blanchard, Foster, Willard, Henri Nouwen, and other mystics.

Rob Bell had a Dominican “sister” from the Dominican Center of Grand Rapids to speak at his Mars Hill (MI) Church. The Dominican Center at Marywood specializes in a wide variety of weird new age-type “opportunities” such as contemplation, labyrinths, and Celtic Spirituality. These “opportunities” reach back to the Roman Catholic mystics of the Middle Ages to make their mysticism relevant to us today. It is Roman Catholic heresy! Why would an evangelical preacher promote something like that?  I think that Bell is cracked!

Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt also recently appeared on stage in April of 2008 with the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu in Seattle for an interspiritual conference to promote compassion especially among youth. With thousands in attendance including a host of religious leaders that represented false religions, Bell referred to the Dalai Lama as “His Holiness.”  The panel included various Christian leaders, a Muslim scholar, a Sikh, and the Dalai Lama, among others, who spoke on compassion and spirituality. I watched the whole show and Bell had many opportunities to mention Christ and salvation but never said anything that might suggest that he was a Christian pastor of a large Emergent Church! Not only did he call Dalai Lama, “His Holiness” but he was also “mealy-mouthed” throughout the session.

Bell, along with others on the panel and participants in the conference, was given the protocol (code of conduct) when dealing with Dalai. I think number one is you don’t call him “Dalai.” But then I’m shameless. You never touch him so I would be in trouble immediately since I would have slapped him on the back and asked, “How’s it going, Dalai?” One is expected to fold his hands, bow, and never turn his back on him. Bell was almost giddy in his presence. He was like a teen girl on her first date with the local football star.

The Sikh declared, “We are all children of the same God,” and Bell did not seek to correct him and provide the Bible response. Truly, that Bell did not ring true! For sure, Bell did not possess the “spirit” of Elijah or of John the Baptist! No, it was another “spirit.”

One-worldism was the order of the day as represented by “Sister” Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Catholic nun who was voted “the most inspirational woman alive” in a recent survey. She opined, “We say we are created by one god. We say we are all the human family. That makes us interdependent. That is the basis of compassion because it is the basis of the morality of the world.” What was a Christian leader like Bell doing in a crowd like that? Many would say, “Doing what Christ did in going to where people are.” Yes, but would Christ or one of the Apostles permit such blather without an appropriate response?
Joan (author of Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, a “classic of contemporary spirituality”) appeared on Bill Moyers’ PBS NOW show and called Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson “oppressors,” “extremists,” etc., who “impose” their opinions upon everyone else. They are like the “Puritans who burned witches”; however, she does not know that the American Puritans did not burn one witch! In England and Scotland, witches were burned but not one witch was burned in America! About 19 accused witches were hanged and one was crushed under stones but not burned. Of course, they were just as dead, but a Ph.D. should know her history before she slanders a whole group of Christians and leaders—albeit flawed—leaders of the Religious Right.  I ask again, what was an “evangelical” pastor doing in such a crowd and why his tongue was silent?

The top honcho himself, the Dalai Lama said that he believes there are different religions so people can find the one that best suits them. “I think everyone, ultimately, deep inside [has] some kind of goodness,” he said. (Dalai Lama’s website.) Therefore, any religion would be all right; however, God says that there is none good, no not one, not even Dalai! But then, you surely don’t expect a Gospel preacher to stand to his feet and oppose such paganism, do you? Yes, I do, but Bell failed. He blinked and wimped out. He did not “emerge” out of the pack but fitted in with the crowd. He would not remain my pastor for a week after that fiasco.

Bell is indicative of most new Evangelicals—they think they are being gracious when they are being gutless and they think they are compassionate when they are compromising and cowardly. 
The Church of Jesus Christ is in big trouble when such religious charlatans as above can become leaders of thousands of people. Let me remind you what Paul wrote in Gal. 1:6-9: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” That was 2,000 years ago, so should we be surprised at the compromise, cowardice, and corruption that flourishes in our churches today? This is what Christians were to be wary of following Christ’s ascension.

Leading pastors of Emergent Churches are wolves in shepherd’s clothes! They are cultists who are leading multitudes astray yet we are expected to treat them like gentlemen! We should respond to them as the Apostle John responded to Cerinthus (who did not believe in Christ’s divinity) as John entered the public baths in Ephesus. John grabbed his clothes and fled saying, “Let us flee, lest even the bath fall, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” The enemy of truth reigns in Emergent Churches.
One of their leading pastors who works closely with Robert Schuller and other phonies said, “My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a re-catalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ.” Erwin McManus, author of a new book titled The Barbarian Way, said in a telephone interview. “Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right.” (Erwin McManus, numerous websites.) Christians are fools if they do not identify their enemies. One major enemy is the Emergent Church! I don’t consider loose Evangelicals and strange Fundamentalists my enemies. They are simply wrong, but the leading dudes in the Emergent Church are my enemies!

A big surprise is that none of these dudes are being tried for heresy or removed from their pulpits! How can the Southern Baptist Convention permit Rick Warren’s church and Smilin’ Joel Osteen’s church to remain in their group? How can Billy Graham’s church continue to be patient with his heretical statements about universalism and his defense of baptismal regeneration? What must a preacher do to be kicked out of a church? McLaren, Bell, Paggitt, Campalo, Schuller, Foster, and Company continue to crank out books (endorsed by each other) and peddle their poison at each others’ conferences. What has happened to discernment, commitment to Truth, and standing on principle? Where is the responsible militancy on the part of the average evangelical and Fundamentalist pastor?

Paul warned us about such false teachers in II Cor.11:13-15: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

What is emerging from the Emergent Church is a direct threat to all our churches, far more subtle than any “ism” that has passed this way before, and evangelical/fundamentalist preachers are on the golf courses, fishing boats, or having lunch with their mayor. One thing is sure: they are not militant, (most are mushy and mild). No, we cannot shut down or correct the Emergent Churches of the world, but we surely must teach and warn people and spread the truth. Christ warned in Matt. 7:15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

Any preacher of the Gospel is a monumental failure if he does not warn his people of this danger. Yet, (to quote Dr. David Cloud) many evangelical and fundamental preachers seem to care more about the feelings of wolves than the safety of the sheep.
What is emerging from the Emergent Church is confusion, compromise, and corruption.


5 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

Richard Fisher
Jul 27, 2009 12:41pm [ 1 ]

It has become increasingly clear why these Emergent Church / New Age Movement Speakers don’t like to talk about End Time Prophecy. They would have to talk about their own evil ways. There are so many Bible Scriptures Prophecies that talk about deceivers appearing at the End Times.

Oct 3, 2009 10:29pm [ 2 ]

My heart is sick as I see this New Age movement infiltrating our church. We are now exploring spiritual formation and prophetic dreams etc. I just don’t know what to do. I pray that our leadership’s eyes will be opened to the truth. I don’t want to leave the church because I have many friends there but I know I can’t sit under the tutelage of a false teacher.

It is so sad!!

Ralph Wiseman
Feb 1, 2010 12:56am [ 3 ]

Good article Brother. I have felt this all along, but this new light has just borne out my gut feeling. I have not been silent about this in my own family. For years I have warned that so called “preachers” that have big private planes and big mansions for a home, and tell their people that they ought to be friends with wealthy people, is something bad wrong.


Deborah Wenrich
Feb 26, 2010 11:32pm [ 4 ]

I wholeheartedly agree. 100%

Jun 24, 2016 6:07pm [ 5 ]

Thank you for this and other posts. I sense urgency in them/ I don’t have to agree necessarily on ‘certain’ points (not in this post but a few comments made in others lest we assume one person knows all) which will remain unsaid as the saying is true: “everyone is right in their own mind”…and some things will be unless that person is Changed in full, so no point in ‘debating semantics” (at least as far as I’m concerned). IN regard to this post with Emergent Church..I hear it all the time..it appears to manifest invisibly not by what is said, but by what is NOT said. It’ is under the assumed name of a ‘Christian title’ but it is in the body that the germs find their way..and not everyone in that church may even be aware of it. Primarily it’s within one’s inner most being ..at least some, and only comes out when the season is right. Otherwise, it lays latent waiting for the next opportunity to present itself. Emergent Church might come off as a philosophy but isn’t it just another form of humanism? It appears atheistic to me..a form of unbelief which we all in some from ‘suffer from’ lest one say they are without sin. Universal Universalists is another one…how can the Emergent Church not already be what that is? I saw that the UCC and the UUs might be back in cahoots again…is that true? It is as if there is this ‘unifying principle’ that goes by different labels..and if one can work beyond the labels and the extraneous stuff that is on the outside..deep within it’s the same old story going back to “If you eat of this fruit you will be like God Knowing Good and Evil - you will not SURELY die”.

If anyone speaks, he should speak as one conveying the words of God. If anyone serves, he should serve with the strength God supplies, so that in ALL THINGS God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

1 2Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you.

13 But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.…

Ecclesiastes 5:8 If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them.

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