I’ll have more on this later, but I thought the reader might be interested to know that Brian McLaren himself is quite familiar with the idea of panentheism as taught by his “good friend Leonard Sweet,” and further he would also appear to “enjoy” it, which we can see here from this reader’s question posted at McLaren’s website:

6) Thank you for the Green chapter. Have you read Sally Mcfague – she is an eco-theologian? She is a pan-en-theist. (not a pan-theist, the en is important). God is in the world, but more than the world. The world is Gods body, but the world is not God. You may find her writing enjoyable.

Answer: Yes, I have enjoyed her work. I wrote a bit about my views on panentheism in Finding Faith, fyi.

This proves quite interesting. The reader, even though pro-panentheism, is even kind enough to point out this blasphemous notion for Brian McLaren; but then McLaren just simply tells the reader that he “enjoys” this writing which certainly could not have been a true Biblical exposition of this misunderstanding about God’s creation.

Traveling Along The Broad Road

Then as we look at a review of McLaren’s book Finding Faith on Amazon UK we find yet another example of the “new kind” of vague Christianity espoused by the Emergent Church Guru:

From the Author
Here’s why I wrote “Finding Faith.”
Finding Faith Ever since I began my own spiritual questionings and searchings in my teenage years, I have wanted to talk with people about faith…but there didn’t seem to be very many who would listen to my questions and help me work through them at my own pace and in my own way. The people in my life who helped me in this way are among my best friends today. One of the great things they have done for me is recommend good books, books like C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” and his many other works of fiction and nonfiction – or like Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled,”… (reference below)

For the reader who may not be familiar with the late M. Scott Peck, here is a little background information you will find most interesting. This should shed some light to help you understand why, as a Christian pastor myself, there is no way on our Lord’s earth that I would ever “recommend” or refer to as “good” anything like the New Age writings of M. Scott Peck. Mike Oppenheimer informs us:

The late M. Scott Peck who is popularly read by Christians said, While I continue to make use of what I have learned from Buddhism, there are aspects of Buddhism [like reincarnation] that I am agnostic about. That means I don’t disbelieve it and I don’t believe it; I just don’t know. On the other hand, I find distasteful the traditional idea of Christianity which preaches the resurrection of the body (Further Along the Road Less Traveled, pp. 168-169; M. Scott Peck) emphasis mine (http://www.letusreason.org/current78.htm).

But then again, when one considers the New Light panentheism of McLaren’s “good friend Leonard Sweet” as documented here in “Emergent Church: Quantum Shift To Panenthesim,” a bit more New Age light emerges even brighter because as Lighthouse Trails tells us:

“Mystical prayer is also the basis for Peck’s spirituality. He noted the necessity of it in his book, A World Waiting To Be Born: “This process of emptying the mind is of such importance it will continue to be a significant theme … Peck also conveys the notion that Jesus was “an example of the Western mystic” who “integrated himself with God.” He added that Jesus’ message to us was to “cease clinging to our lesser selves” and find “our greater true selves.” Contemplative prayer, he believes, “is a lifestyle dedicated to maximum awareness.” You might be interested to know that former Vice President Al Gore has his endorsement on the book’s back cover. He praises it as being “extremely important” and an “invaluable guide,” stating the book’s teachings have given us “powerful new reasons for hope.” (page 58, 59) (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/mscottpeck.htm)

Here is a brief section from The Road Less Traveled. As you read, consider that Peck believed all is god; however, the panentheistist who believes that God is in all will also see:

Since the unconscious is God all along, we may further define the goal of spiritual growth to be the attainment of godhood by the conscious self. It is for the individual to become totally, wholly GodThe point is to become God while preserving consciousness. If the bud of consciousness that grows from the rhizome of the unconscious God can become itself God, then God will have assumed a new life form. This is the meaning of our individual existence. We are born that we might become, as a conscious individual, a new life form of God (283)

Preach The Word; Be Prepared In Season And Out Of Season

I don’t know about you, but after just reading the above I want to go sit in sack cloth and ashes asking God to forgive me for even seeing this, let alone “recommending” this blasphemy to others as “good” as McLaren does. And now as you look at the last excerpt of what McLaren says about his book Finding Faith note that there is a Name conspicuously absent from our Christian preacher’s description of his book about faith; Jesus.

As I wrote “Finding Faith,” I kept sending manuscripts out to some of my friends who are atheists, agnostics, or otherwise turned off by church, Christianity, etc. They not only gave me a lot of helpful feedback and suggestions, but they also encouraged me by saying that for the first time, they could see why an intelligent person would seek faith and seek for God. I am a pastor of a really unusual Christian church. Over half of the folk who attend are new to church and new to Christianity. Before becoming a pastor, I was a college English instructor. Both in my higher education experience, and in my ministry experience, I have gotten a feeling for how much people need faith, but how hard it is to seek faith, especially when there are so many zealous but sometimes misguided people around who try to push, push, push.

That’s why I say that “Finding Faith” doesn’t try to tell you what to believe, or even just why you should believe. It focuses on the process of “how” to believe, how to develop a “good faith” that will not only connect you with God and other people, but make you a better person in the process. I hope the book is of real help to you!

From the Back Cover
Is there a God? – What might God be like? – What is the relationship between faith and certainty? – Can intelligent people believe in spiritual realities? – Why are there so many religions? – Is it possible to experience a relationship with God–and if so, how? If you’ve asked questions like these, you’re in good company…this book helps you face your obstacles to faith by focusing not on what to believe, but on how to believe. Whether you want to strengthen the faith you have, renew the faith you lost, or discover faith for the first time, Finding Faith can coach, inspire, encourage, and guide you, and help you discover more in life than you’d ever imagined or hoped for.

Wait a miniute, as an “Evangelical” minister of the Gospel isn’t Brian McLaren also one of Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). And isn’t a large part of our jobs according to an evangelical protestant position to bring good news! (Romans 10:15) It seems to me that our problem with what men like Brian McLaren of the Emergent Church are not doing for the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found in the prior verse – How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

In closing this particular work, we speak to the most likely objection from McLarenites that “he never said he believes the same things Peck does.” This is to miss the point, he clearly linked Peck’s The Road Less Traveled with Lewis’ Mere Christianity, a book considered a “classic” by some (though I’m not included here) in an attempt to make The Road Less Traveled more credible in Christian circles. However, it is here we need to remember that among the early Church Fathers, which the Emergent Church find so appealing, there were also apologists who vehemently defended our Lord’s Church from heresy such as Irenaeus. So we encourage the reader to re-approach the subject of Brian McLaren’s friendship with Leonard Sweet and his panentheistic Quantum Spirituality. With this new information we may now reconsider McLaren’s personal denial of the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement in New Light as well.

You see as we take all of the above together with McLaren’s endorsement of Alan Jones’ book Reimagining Christianity with our eyes now looking through the lens of panenthesm, it seems very plausible that there would be no need for an atonement in their thinking. Or at best all that would be needed is a universal atonement that reconciled the entire cosmos back to God. And this would also serve to explain much of the developing theology of the Emergent Church which uses terms the Evangelical will be familiar with. However, their former orthodox meanings have vanished into a matrix of redefinitions. But now we have a footing as to why there is such an interest in the ecumenical picking and choosing from each religious tradition whatever we happen to like. Their main premise being that all religions can now be friends because in the long run we are all part of God anyway–with or without the atonement.

You know, one can’t help but imagine Dr. Walter Martin in Heaven saying to the Master: “O Lord, just give me one day down there.” My friend, this all may be a nice emerging dream, but it is most definitely not historic orthodox Christian theology, and this nonsense should simply not have been taught as Evangelical doctrine to unsuspecting pastors and youth ministers at the 2006 NPC an event that was sponsored by Zondervan, IVP and Leadership.