This summer has been full including studying and researching for future blog posts. Something that is ravaging the NT Church is contemplative spirituality/spiritual formation and it is HUGE in the Emerging Progressive Missional Church movement, so I decided rather than try to break it completely down myself, for now anyway, I am linking to a video teaching by Ray Yungen because it is excellent in the information he is providing. I will add some names to be aware of but he gives a few. This is only a partial teaching at a conference. I will try to remember to post the follow up video as well.
Ray Yungen mentions Brennan Manning, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, others to be aware of are Richard Rohr, Leonard Sweet, Walter Brueggemann, Lesslie Newbiggin. These people have a huge influence on those who lead and promote the Emerging Progressive and Missional Christian movement, this element of Contemplative, New Age Mysticism is what brings so many together who if you were to look at doctrine should actually have nothing to unite around (ecumenism) but this false spirituality will draw the followers in the Emergent movement together because like Ray says, it does away with the biblical gospel. The true gospel of the Bible is a marker of what Truth is and that is not subjective it is absolute.
If you are in a church teaching or promoting contemplative spirituality/ spiritual formation you need to run! This is not biblical, it is occultism. That’s it. StraightUp!
First, let’s talk about the photo to the right! As you can see the internet label above the photos says, “The Emergent Church leaders” that’s right. These are some of the more prominent leaders of the Emerging Missional Church Movement. The top first two (Brian McLaren and Rob Bell) seem to get a lot of space from those trying to warn the Church to avoid them since they are extremely heretical and in reality probably not even born again Christians. The third one on the top, gets some attention as well, and again he (Doug Pagitt) is extremely heretical and likely not a born again Christian. Some of you might be saying, “you don’t know if they are saved or not..” actually, research them and you will understand the statement. The other two guys on the bottom are Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch…yes! Alan Hirsch is an EMC leader! See one of the things that has made researching the EMC over the past year a challenge, is the reality that there are more than one stream of it, but all of the streams focus on being “missional”. A short background on Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, they are considered to be “Deconstructionist” (or in another term, Progressive Christians) basically, they flat out reject much of scripture, use scripture out of context when they do use it, practice contemplative spirituality, are LGTBQ affirming, all that, Like I said before, you can do your own in depth research.
I’m going to focus on Alan Hirsch for now, since he has a great amount of influence on EFCA pastors and leaders through the group Creo Collective. Alan Hirsch is South African with ties to Australia, and is one of the most prominent teachers of being “missional” and for his teaching of APEST (which would be a whole other post) – he is what is known as a Reconstructionist in the EMC stream. What is the desire of this Reconstructionist? The church is irrelevant in their (Reconstructionist) opinion so the church needs to change to meet the needs of the changing culture (even though the Church was never called to do this), so we have the push and the expertise of Alan Hirsch to be ‘missional’ and incarnational. Include everyone, exclude no one. A bigger picture of what this looks like is having conversations rather than evangelize, do works, social justice, utilize spiritual formation (contemplative spirituality…which is new age/Eastern Orthodox Mysticism) and some Emergent/Progressive Christians like Shane Claiborne promote monastic community (this comes from following the Desert Fathers – Catholic). Here is the thing NONE of this is NT Christianity.
There is a reason these things are not apart of the NT Church, they are actually influenced by the Eastern Orthodox Church which draws from 2nd – 3rd Century ‘Church Father’s’ rather than the Word of God itself, contemplative spiritual practices are common place, as well as many elements of Catholicism (which this stumped me for awhile) but Hirsch has an Orthodox view of scripture and the gospel so these things highly influence this movement. I will say of many other EMC leaders, they also have these same leanings. So, is it ‘missional’, Emergent, or Progressive? Yes! Actually, it is all the same movement. The Emergent and Progressive movements are intertwined, some a little more extreme than others. Those like Alan Hirsch follow and endorse those such as Brian McLaren. There is no separation due to heresy or apostasy as the Bible says there should be. No, these people support each other in the ‘mission’. According to David Fiorazo an author, speaker and radio host who has written on the Emerging Church confirms the Emergent movement has morphed into what we are seeing as the Progressive Christian movement. The Progressive movement reject the authority of literal interpretation of scripture therefore sound teaching of scripture is not important.
Even Creo Collective, the group for missional minded pastors in the EFCA (which is welcoming not affirming of LGTBQ), is following this Progressive movement. In September, they held teaching on the ‘Early Church’ (apostolic teaching, creeds, confessions, catechisms, early church fathers and mothers)… this is CATHOLICISM. All of these things are rooted in the Catholic traditions NOT in NT Christianity. This is ecumenism pure and simple. More clearly, this is turning evangelical churches into heretical churches. Neither the Eastern Orthodox Church nor the Catholic Church are the NT Church. The Bible gives all the information we need to see and know what the NT Church is and how it is to function. You can not bring people to Jesus with a biblical gospel, when the basis of what you believe, teach and promote are not aligned with the Word of God. Might there be some in these movements and the Catholic faith who have heard a biblical gospel and have been born again? Yes, this is possible, however their leadership are compromising with secular culture instead of being faithful to true biblical teaching.
This movement is full of mud puddles of doctrine and heresies. Alan Hirsch and many like him are Dominionist and Amillenial in their end time eschatology. The Bible is clear on the end time events, so even in this, our churches and leaders are being influenced with unbiblical doctrines. These things have to matter or we are going to find ourselves far away from our desired destination. That’s it. StraightUp!
If you know nothing about Progressive Christianity, checkout Alisa Childer’s new book Another Gospel…it will be a starting point.
If you are a Christian you may of heard something about being “missional” or on “mission”, these are basically the concept or methodology of the Emerging Church Movement. There are those who will argue that is not so, but I have done enough research over the past year to know that it is in fact the Emerging Church. However, for the sake of those who may choose to argue, I am going to leave it this way, the theology of being “missional” is heavily tethered to the EMC. Everyone who teaches, trains or writes about being “missional” are EMC leaders and influencers. That in of itself is a problem.
First, what does it mean to be “Missional”? It comes from the idea of missio Dei God’s mission to the world, working to restore and heal creation. (this should already be raising a red flag). The furthered idea that the Church is on “Mission” for this purpose. This idea that God’s mission was/is to restore all of creation is not a Biblical concept, it is Kingdom Now theology and Replacement theology. God does not need our help to solve the issues of societies all across the globe before He will come and receive His Kingdom from us, fallen, wretched, humans and the promises of God to Israel, are for Israel not the Bride of Christ…the Church. God did not send Jesus to restore creation; God sent Jesus to save humanity, sinners, people!!! The way the EMC/Missional church takes the focus off the redemption purpose of God sending His only Son and making it about Jesus being “sent” totally removes the cross and its purpose for humanity from the Church…nothing matters but WHY Jesus was sent! Why do they do this? The reason was very well articulated by Dr. A. Taylor back 1960 (yes, this is not a new thing, just a more visible one) in The Presbyterian Journal where he wrote, “Missions’ in the traditional concept, suggests outreach. One goes out to another who is outside until he is brought in. ‘Mission’ on the other hand suggests in-reach. One reaches across to a neighbor who is already a brother within, but not yet ‘identified’ or ‘committed’.” What?!!!! Yet, that is exactly what is being taught today. People like Caesar Kalinowski and others, who teach that we should love everyone as family, everyone is a brother or sister…well, not according to the Bible. Yes, every human is created in the image of God, but the Bible is very clear when it comes to speaking about who is or is not a child of God. In fact, the Bible tells us that those who do not put their faith in Jesus Christ are children of the world, they are enemies of God. The basic idea in the “missional” movement is that the traditional way of going out and sharing the gospel as commanded in the Great Commission is no longer its purpose. The church’s purpose is to include everyone, which is extremely ecumenical and even universalistic. The unity of the NT Church is based on the gospel not anyone or any organization that labels itself “Christian” – there is an obligation to sound Biblical doctrine when we unite with others who call themselves Christians and when that is not there, we should not be uniting.
The other big common thing you hear from the EMC/Missional Church is being “incarnational”, “transformational”, “living sacrificially” all to transform the world. There is a shift from Holy Spirit led proclamation of the gospel to a man centered inspired gospel. These people use all the Biblical terminology but the substance is very different. Lesslie Newbigin, who is very influential in the EMC/Missional movement saw the church as God’s embassy in a specific place; “It will be a community that does not live for itself but is deeply involved in the concerns of its neighborhood. It will be the church for the specific place where it lives, not the church for those who wish to be members of it.” Here is the thing, the Church was not called to change the culture of local communities, it was not called to change culture in a larger global scale. The Church was given one purpose, preach the gospel and make disciples. Basically, when you live on mission and incarnationally, you are living a relationships based (hyper friendship evangelism), conversational, good works (this includes social justice) false Christianity. If you do good works and don’t share the gospel, all you have done is humanitarian work, you are not even being a witness for Jesus Christ. Why would God need our good works to transform the world? The Bible tells us that our (humanity) goods works are as filthy rags (I will let you look deeper into that and understand exactly what is meant) our good works don’t even do anything for us.
There is so much I can write about this, but I am just hoping to provide a snap shot so that if you find yourself connected to a church or a ministry that is pushing the “missional” stuff… you need to realize that it is moving away from Biblical Christianity and you need to reject it. The Bible tells us that in the last days the world is going to wax worse and worse, violence will increase, suffering will increase, disasters, disorder, death it is all going to increase and get worse and part of the reason for that is God’s judgement on a rebellious world, the world is not going to get better, it is going to get worse! Have you looked at what is happening all over these days…we need to wake up! We need to stand for a Biblical gospel that is true to the purpose of why God sent Jesus to earth otherwise we are going to find ourselves in a totally different end than we had anticipated.
Quick thoughts as to why you should say no thanks to the Missional, incarnational concept of Christianity:
Based on Kingdom Now/Dominionist theology.
Man Centered works focused/social justice gospel
Does not follow Biblical end time eschatology
Replacement theology (Church replaces Israel)
Doesn’t follow Biblical concept of community.
It is ecumenicalism and universalism.
Incarnational spirituality is no different than New Age incarnational spirituality.
It just isn’t Biblical. Just say NO. That’s it. StraightUp!
Have you heard this? Maybe you have heard something like one of these – “A new way of being Christian”, “Reinventing the Church”, or “Re-Imaging Christianity”. You might be saying yes or you might be shaking your head no and thinking what?! These are statements you will hear from “evangelical Christians” (Those who are connected to the Emerging “Missional” Church movement) who think that the Church needs to change in order to be more relevant to today’s society and culture, but actually, it is all a bunch of false gibberish, ideas, philosophies, concepts and methods that are not biblically sound. There is only one way to be a Christian (through repentance and a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior), that doesn’t change and the Word of God doesn’t change because God doesn’t change. (Hebrews 13:8) the Word of God and the Gospel are just as relevant today as they have ever been- that will NOT change! Whether a society accepts God’s Word as absolute Truth or not, the fact remains that it IS!
So, what does something like “A new way of being Christian” mean? Well, it means being a culturally friendly Christian. It means softening the Gospel so you don’t have to feel weird or sacrifice a friendship because you shared the Gospel and someone got offended, so now you have one less friend. What does this soft gospel look like? The Story of God (A summary of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation). Sorry but this is NOT the biblical Gospel! Jesus never commanded the disciples or us to go share the “Story of God” – Jesus never shared the Story of God. Jesus told people, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is near.” When we soften the Gospel so that we don’t offend people, we are denying who Christ really is and what He really did on the Cross. The Word of God tells us, that if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before the Father. (Matthew 10:33) Think about that! Jesus will DENY you before His Father if you deny Him before men- that should scare the milk duds out of you! The only thing that is relevant in any culture at any time is the Word of God and the biblical Gospel, Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Repent and call on the name of Jesus and you will be saved – that’s it.
One such person who promotes The Story of God in his book The Gospel Primer is Caesar Kalinowski. Now there are many things with this guys overall “doctrine” that should raise flags, but for now I am going to focus on this book. It is not biblically sound. Just the concept of learning and telling the story of God over the pure biblical Gospel is not biblical. This book, which I have read through, has a few things that should send up red flags, as if any more are needed beyond the obvious. Personally, this book sounds like nothing more than conditioning. It is all about getting you, the Christian, to second guess what you believe and to get you to rethink what and how you should be sharing the “gospel” – Pg. 65 He writes, “But if we want to tell our stories in ways that others who have not learned this UNUSUAL DIALECT will relate to and connect with, we need to RETRAIN ourselves to proclaim the gospel using language that communicates good news in words that the listener will understand.”Um, NO!!! Sharing the Gospel as demonstrated in scripture is NOT hard to understand, it is offensive!(1 Cor.1:18) … and we can’t have that now can we? (that is sarcasm) We do not get to change that! The Gospel is not meant to make people feel good or even happy. There is a cost to following Jesus.
On another page 1.1 he writes “In a nutshell, we can sum it up this way: The gospel is that God himself has come to rescue and renew creation in and through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Why does creation (which includes you and me) need rescuing? Because of sin.“ There is a huge problem in this, this is kingdom now theology and it is not biblical. Jesus did not live, die and resurrect to rescue and renew creation, Jesus died and rose again to redeem HUMANITY from SEPARATION from God because of SIN. This planet we live on is His provision to sustain His creation (you, me and every other human) but He did not shed His blood to save the earth. In this same section, he writes, “In order to effectively equip our missional community to be “fluent” in the gospel (he isn’t talking about the biblical gospel), we will need to create a culture where it is normal to speak the gospel to each other regularly, naturally.”This is conditioning! If you hear something enough and do it enough, you can convince yourself it is right. This is not! Then there is the whole concept of being “missional” the main concept of the Emerging Church. No where in scripture are we told to be incarnational or missional. They are not biblical concepts. They are however, the idea of people who think they have figured out a better way to be Christian. This book is published by Missio Publishing, a publisher for emerging and progressive Christians like Brandon Hatmaker. The editor of this book is Hugh Halter (check out his FB page) who is also an Emerging Missional Church leader who is endorsed by Brian McLaren another Emerging Missional guy (Google him or even find him on YouTube…this guy is NOT a Christian). The Word of God says we are to have NOTHING to do with false teachers. Caesar is surrounded by them. That’s it. StraightUp!