Some of the Emergent leaders such as Bell, McLaren, Kimball, Burke, Chalke, Jones, and Company are famous preachers, writers, etc., who have led the nebulous movement into deep, stagnant waters of heresy; but then that has always happened when a person, church, college, or a movement gets away from the Bible.
McLaren is very confused about personal salvation as evidenced when he declared, “I don’t think we’ve got the gospel right yet. What does it mean to be ‘saved’? When I read the Bible, I don’t see it meaning, ‘I’m going to heaven after I die.’” (“The Emergent Mystique,” Christianity Today, Nov. 2004, p. 40).
McLaren reveals that they want to “go back and get reconnected to Jesus with all of his radical, profound, far-reaching message of the Kingdom of God” without the institutional trappings and without the doctrine. (Interview with Brian McLaren, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly website, 7-15-2005.) If he wants to be connected to Christ, I suggest he start with John 3 and the New Birth experience! EC leaders don’t seem to understand that Bible doctrine is Bible truth.
According to a Washington Post article, Brian “contends that people can follow Jesus’s (sic) way without becoming a Christian. In the latest of his eight books, The Secret Message of Jesus…, he argues that Christians should be more concerned about creating a just ‘Kingdom of God’ on earth than about getting into heaven.” (Caryle Murphy, Washington Post, “Evangelical Author Puts Progressive Spin On Traditional Faith,” 9-10-2006.) However, our call, commitment, commission, and command is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature and baptize them into a local New Testament Church, not to build some social or political kingdom on earth.
In the same article McLaren declared, “When we present Jesus as a pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons authority figure draped in an American flag, I think we are making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the gospels.” No one seems to challenge Brian to identify who has done such a thing! I think McLaren is not only a travesty but also a traitor to the cause of Christ.
McLaren dances all around biblically clear issues such as homosexuality and abortion. He told an interviewer, “I don’t see the issue of homosexuality as the simple black-and-white issue that some of my fellow Evangelicals make it out to be.” (Ibid.) Of course, those issues have been unambiguous to Bible-believers for thousands of years. I wonder why Brian, like his co-conspirators Tony Campolo, Dan Kimball, Rob Bell, and Company, is so uncertain about controversial moral issues. Could it be because he is uncertain about the Word of God? While he claims to be evangelical, what genuine Evangelicals would accept him into their “club”?
Toleration of sexual immorality is the first stage of national decadence. We have already been to Sodom; now we are skipping into Gomorrah. It is cultural and moral suicide to attempt to make perversion acceptable and normal and our posterity will look back and marvel at our madness and cowardice. Children who grow up being told that perversion is acceptable, even normal, and as desirable as heterosexuality, will have more dangerous hang-ups than the telephone company.
EC theologian, Tony Jones, admitted there were all kinds of people in Emergent Churches such as “Texas Baptists who don’t let women preach” and there are “lesbian mainline pastors from New England.” (Tyler Clark and Peter J. Walker, Relevant Magazine, July, 2006.) Tony declared that they had not found anything that justifies breaking fellowship with someone who loves and is trying to follow Jesus! Wonder if Tony ever read Romans 1 or I Corinthians 5?.” (Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that could change everything, p. 78.) Emphasis added. Wow, we are too concerned about the most important issue any person will ever face: whether he or she goes to Heaven! How dare we be so selfish!
Dan Kimball espouses the same kind of screwball teachings as many EC leaders. Dan wrote, “As I talk to them [young adult homosexuals] and hear their stories and get to know them, I come to understand that their sexual orientation isn’t something they can just turn off. Homosexual attraction is not something people simply choose to have, as is quite often erroneously taught from many pulpits.” (Dan Kimball, They Like Jesus But Not the Church, p. 138.) Willow Creek Community Church recommends this book.
On page 191, Kimball describes fundamental Christians as, “People who are always saying negative things about the world, are anti-gay, take the whole Bible literally, and card-carrying Republicans, are pro-Israel, read end-times novels, and endorse snake handling and fire-and-brimstone preaching. They think of King-James, finger-pointing, teetotaling, vengeful people who credit God for using natural disasters to punish people for sin, and who use Christians jargon and are arrogant and unloving toward anyone but themselves.” (Note these dudes are not the most lucid thinkers or writers.)
Well, that is quite an indictment; however, it is faulty, false, and fraudulent. I know thousands of “fundamental” Christians and while we are anti-homosexuality, we are not against homosexuals. We love them, in fact. That is so complicated Dan cannot grasp the difference. In addition, it is pure demagoguery, distortion, and dishonesty to add “snake handling” in the mix. Dan is dumb as a box of rocks. Some super-gracious folk might, in all kindness, affirm that he is desperate, very desperate, to make a point that educated people know is false. Moreover, to speak of us as being “arrogant” and “unloving” is astounding. Astute readers will say, “Wait a minute. That’s exactly what he displayed.” Pity that he and many of his EC buddies are not only wrong but also blind and they had better understand a simple fact: eternity is a long time to be wrong!
Brain McLaren does not agree with Jesus or any true evangelical. He wrote, “Instead of being about the kingdom of God coming to earth, the Christian religion has too often become preoccupied with abandoning or escaping the earth and going to heaven
Brian told a national television audience, “The church has been preoccupied with the question, ‘What happens to your soul after you die?’ As if the reason for Jesus coming can be summed up in, ‘Jesus is trying to help get more souls into heaven, as opposed to hell, after they die.’ I just think a fair reading of the Gospels blows that out of the water. I don’t think that the entire message and life of Jesus can be boiled down to that bottom line.” (Brian McLaren from the PBS special on the Emerging Church.)
Maybe Brian is not reading the same Gospels I am reading! For sure, he is preaching “another gospel.” Jesus clearly said in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life.” He told the thief on the cross, “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” In Matt. 18:11, He said, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” In the Mark 16:15, He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel….” Yes, He was concerned about this life, but His major thrust was to provide a way of eternal salvation. McLaren is so earthly minded he is no heavenly good! He wants justice for all (who doesn’t?), food for the hungry (see previous parenthesis), etc., but he is not very concerned about eternity. Are you showing much concern and love if you only feed a man and permit him to go to hell without the Gospel? I think Brian has been sniffing too many strange candles and incense and that tends to rot the brain!
An informed Christian school student knows that Brian is off base here. Christ often said that His purpose was to give life, forgive sins, etc., in preparation for eternity. Brian doesn’t seem to think that is so important. Throughout his book he gives more credibility to Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and other left-wingers than to Christ, Paul, or Peter.
Copyright 2008, Don Boys, Ph.D.
Former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 13 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years. His most recent book is ISLAM: America’s Trojan Horse! These columns go to over 11,000 newspapers, television, and radio stations. His websites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com.)
2 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.
I don’t wish to be insulting, but I would like to remind the author that all the emergent Christians mentioned in the above article, including Brian McLaren, are made in the image of God. Although I do not know the man personally, I understand that he is a man who is loved by God, and I find your comments about his sanity particularly harsh and upsetting. It may be that he holds different doctrines to you but this does not mean that he should be mocked for his beliefs.
It is clear from the article that you long for all people to come to know Christ and to find ultimate salvation in Him- I would suggest that your comments are not only offensive towards fellow brothers and sisters in Christ but also rude and harmful to your witness as a Christian. May I suggest that you pray for Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball and those others with whom you disagree on questions of doctrine, that they will know the truth so that truth will set them free- from my experience, a loving Christian witness is often more effective than an insulting one.
The two comments above look so familiar to me. Sounds like some of the comments made about Jesus Christ our Saviour.