The other day on Emergent-No Andrew Jones made a comment along the lines of articles such as these I am writing are little more than “six degrees of Matthew Fox.” His implication is actually quite common among those who pledge blind allegiance to an organization or more specifically in this case the Emerging Church movement. Anyone following the extensive documentation I have been providing will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that with much of the leadership within the Emergent Church we’re a whole lot closer than six degrees way from teachers of the New Age like Matthew Fox.

The Poisoned Root

But by the grace of God I am what I am

Comments like the one made by Andrew Jones only brings the critical issue concerning the Emerging Church movement to the forefront. I cover this further in A Diseased Tree, but when an organization or movement begins with poisoned roots it cannot ultimately produce good fruit. It may for a time perhaps, but as the poison seeps further throughout eventually all of it will become corrupt. I strongly urge the interested reader to go to Herescope for a series of excellent articles that tell you much about how this movement began. For our purposes here in his book A Generous Orthodoxy Brian McLaren tells us:

In the late 1990’s I was invited to become a part of Leadership Network’s Young Leader Networks (YLN), also briefly known as the Terranova Project. I was grandfathered in as the network’s “old guy,”… I met with Doug Pagitt to discuss our future plans, YLN having just been launched by Leadership Network to continue on its own as independent entity (275)

Think about it, why do you think that this YLN needed an “old guy”? They brought in spiritual director Brian McLaren to oversee the theological development of the younger pastors such as Doug Pagitt and Dan Kimball. Can you see now that it’s through Brian McLaren that we are even talking at all about obvious heretics like the “living spiritual teachers” Alan Jones and Marcus Borg within the confines of Evangelicalism. And then it’s through the work of McLaren’s “good friend” Len Sweet that we end up talking about Matthew Fox and his foolish panentheistic “creation spirituality.” If we were dealing with the historic orthodox Christian faith here instead of gathering around ourselves teachers who will tell us what we want to hear then these names would have all remained in the spiritual dumpster where they belong.

You see only someone who has a theological agenda like McLaren does would keep associating himself with these types of corrupt spiritual teachers and befriend pathetic pastors such as Doug Pagitt. I have been uncovering for you where all of this neopagan spirituality is ultimately leading us. We are heading toward the goal of having “conversations” with all of the various “communities of faith” to teach them we are all one Global Family and that we are just divine parts of the “fragmented/shattered” creation of God. And the mystical element of transcendental meditation that was programmed into the Emergent Church right from its very beginning is the vehicle that some of these men know will bring about the transformation to this “enlightenment.”

The Radical Evangelical Prophet Tony Campolo

As an example, when I ended Part Three I told you that all of this has about as much to do with true Christianity as a Sufi Sheik. You’ll actually see evidence below that men like McLaren are doing their best to change things like that. Do you remember the question from last time where a reader asked spiritual director Brian McLaren: “can’t a Buddhist be ‘saved’ if their faith has made them a good person and they are seeking justice for the earth and Gods creations?” And here was his reply:

Answer: This is a complex question that I don’t feel I can do justice to here. I seek to address it in a number of my books. The word “pluralism” may be the problem, as it has a number of meanings. That particular word aside: I think there are better alternatives than either the exclusivism of some fundamentalists and the relativism of some liberals. Lesslie Newbigin (The Open Secret) and David Bosch (Transforming Mission) have been most helpful to me in this regard, as has C. S. Lewis. (, emphasis added)

This is the disgraceful answer we are given by Brian McLaren; someone who is actually brought in by many Christian denominations to instruct their pastors. And this simple question is apparently so “complex” for McLaren that he’s actually had to seek to “address it in a number of my books.” Then he reveals to us that he’s been scrambling to find teachers like Newbigin, Bosch, and C.S. Lewis to tell him exactly what he already wants to hear. I offer that McLaren’s liberal (and worse) theological agenda only makes the above a “complex question” for someone who is in denial of Scripture actually says, and this is where heresy always begins.

I tell you in the Lord, the truth that leadership within the Evangelical community must finally face is that the above is only a complex question for someone like McLaren who is more intent on pleasing unregenerate men like Tony Campolo than the Resurrected Redeemer he claims to represent. As far as Campolo is concerned Brian McLaren has recently coauthored a book with him called Adventures In Missing The Point and he has also endorsed Campolo’s 2004 book Speaking My Mind: The Radical Evangelical Prophet Tackles the Tough Issues Christians Are Afraid to Face:

“If you paid the full price for this book and only got chapter 8, you’d be getting a great bargain. The same is true for chapters 4,6,9,10, and 11. At a time when the term ‘evangelical’ is up for grabs, Tony’s voice needs to be heard” (back cover, emphasis added).

Campolo, an alleged minister of Jesus Christ who openly and proudly denies the inerrancy and authority of the Bible, is yet another man ready to tell McLaren what he wants to hear so in his warped view Campolo becomes a voice that “needs to be heard.” Well sadly, McLaren’s not alone in this lunacy. The spiritually obtuse who put together the speakers for General Session at the National Pastor’s Conference 2006 also thought the same and so Campolo is among those who will be thus featured. In his fine book Running Against The Wind former New Ager Brian Flynn not only shares a bit from Campolo’s Speaking My Mind but he also indicates the direction that we are undoubtedly heading with the transformation of the Emergent Church:

It is with great sadness and dismay I tell you now that this New Age mindset has spilled over and is now invading Christendom. Evangelical author and speaker Tony Campolo, in his book Speaking My Mind, affirms this union:

[M]ysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.

Mysticism And Transcendental Meditation

Can’t you hear the McLarenesque language of his theological agenda? Mysticism (transcendental meditation) and the “ecstatic union” with God is the “common ground” in all these “spiritual traditions.” C’mon now, it’s not really like these men are hiding anything. And then Flynn further points out that Campolo asks an interesting question which makes things even clearer:

“Could they [Islamic Sufis] have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?” With various examples, Campolo paints a picture of interspirituality through mysticism. Referring to Muslim and Christian mystics, he even tells us that the Christian mystics, such as St. John of the Cross, were enriched by the teachings of Sufi philosophers. In comparing St. Francis of Assisi with the founder of the Sufi movement, Campolo says:

Both men sensed presence in everything and claimed to have experienced a mystical union with God.

The obvious implication of Campolo’s statement is that God can be reached through mystical experiences, regardless of one’s religion and beliefs. This is common thinking among contemplatives who often state that contemplative prayer does indeed provide a bridge to Divinity. (185,186, emphasis added)

You’ll find it important to note that the Sufis are the more mystical strain of Islam. Observe closely which groups within the “communities” of other faiths men like McLaren go to when they have their “interfaith (read: interspiritual) conversations” and you will invariably see it involves the mystic branches. The reason for that is really rather simple, they all share similar spiritual disciplines/practices. And the one virtually all of them practice would be transcendental meditation; often called by other names (the Devil’s not stupid), but the mind-emptying practice of this type of meditation consistently leads to an altered state of consciousness called “transformation” or “enlightenment.” Call it what you will, it has nothing to do with the God of the Bible.

Becoming Like The Most High Through Panetheism And Meditation

In the end each who reads this will have to make up their own minds, but the Lord is my witness that I was not the least interested in any of this prior to a series of events that have led me to this point. One was a phone call from someone I didn’t know, author Warren Smith, a former New Ager like Flynn, who would be kind enough to send me his book Deceived On Purpose. Though it is about the New Age implications in Rick Warren’s teachings about the alleged Purpose-Driven Church, I believe that Lord led me across the following because in an ironic twist that sure looks like God’s work this actually reveals much re. our current discussion about the transformation of the Emergent Church.

While talking about Eugene Peterson’s use of the phrase “as above, so below,” Smith tells us about As Above, So Below, which is a book written by the editors of the New Age Journal. Peterson by the way is translator of The Message Bible and as Tony Jones recommends Peterson’s book The Contemplative Pastor he even calls him: “One of the premier pastors of our time.” Warren Smith goes on to inform us that that the chief editor of the New Age Journal Ronald S. Miller writes in As Above, So Below that the entire maxim “As above, so below; as below, so above”:

implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked (32, emphasis added).

Can you see now why I have taught you about McLaren’s own leanings toward panentheism? This is exactly what the above is describing and it is where all of these Gurus and Yogis McLaren keeps surrounding himself with are going to try and lead the Church of our Lord. I implore you, don’t get caught up in the trap of thinking: “This is ridiculous; Brian McLaren is not teaching this New Age foolishness.” You’re right; he’s probably not beginning to do so consciously, but should the Lord tarry, McLaren and all who follow this “spiritual director” in the Emergent Church will eventually end up here. If these men don’t immediately cease and desist teaching this “Generous Orthodoxy,” and get back to preaching the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ God will send them even further into this delusion (see–1 Kings 19:19-22; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

It’s also telling when Smith goes on to inform us that Miller “continued his explanation by quoting Sufi Muslim scholar Reshad Field”:

“As above, so below” means that the two worlds are instantaneously seen to be one when we realize our essential unity with God….The One and the many, time and eternity, are all One. (ellipsis dots in original) (ibid, emphasis added)

Men and women, the truth is that even though today we are acting in the Christian Church as if we would love to ignore the spiritual world as well as the demonic forces that are currently arrayed against the Church of Jesus Christ, here is something you must come to understand. Absolutely no amount of sticking your head in the spiritual sand of some postmodern philosophy is going to change the absolute fact that the true Christian has been called out from this world for just such a battle in a time like this. The Bible clearly teaches that Satan’s plan is to make himself like the Most High and to steal worship from our Creator that belongs to God alone.

What I have been trying to show you here is that through the doctrine of panentheism and the “enlightenment/transformation,” which comes through transcendental meditation and then deceives people into thinking we are all divine, the Devil would accomplish both goals. In fact I learned about this idea of epiphany myself through the living spiritual Guru Marcus Borg. Scroll down to his name on the Living Spiritual Teachers Project page and you will see that in addition to his scholarly work in tearing down the historic Christian faith Borg just happens to specialize in teaching about this transformation.

God’s Two Sons

And did you know that the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as well as God’s other Son the Buddha, both experienced this transformation? Oh yeah, and here is what Guru Borg tells us about that in Jesus And Buddha: The Parallel Sayings:

The parallels between them are impressive… The parallels involve both particular teachings…and general principles… Jesus and Buddha both had life-transforming experiences around age thirty. After a six-year religious quest, the Buddha had his enlightenment experience under the Bo tree. Jesus’ religious quest led him to the wilderness and his spiritual mentor John the Baptist, culminating in the story of his vision at his baptism (Editor’s Preface, vi, emphasis added)

Wait there’s more, because the living spiritual teacher Borg then tells us:

there are parallels in the religious traditions that grew up around them both. Both of them were perceived as more than human,… Both were given an exalted–even divine–status. What happened to Jesus is well known to Western readers of this book…the early Christian movement spoke of him as the incarnation of God…and ultimately as “very God of very God.”

What happened to the Buddha is less well known in the West. Stories of supernatural conception emerged, and even a notion similar to the Christian notion of incarnation. Guatama–the “historical” Buddha–was the manifestation on earth of the heavenly or cosmic Buddha. In some Buddhist literature, he is even called “God of gods.”

As individuals, Jesus and Buddha would not have recognized themselves in this exalted language. Indeed, both rejected even mild forms of it” (vi, vii, emphasis added).

Don’t you think that this fanciful tripe is more than an extremely good reason to seriously question why spiritual director Brian McLaren would find so much he agrees with in Borg’s blasphemous speculations? And don’t you think we should finally begin to ask why would McLaren be looking forward to be meeting, and working with, Guru Borg this year? You might also find it interesting that one of the recommendations on the back cover of Jesus And Buddha: The Parallel Sayings says: “This compilation reveals a remarkable synchronicity in early teachings from East and West.” And this very assessment itself actually comes from the same New Age Journal that we mentioned earlier.

Still not convinced yet that Borg is a closet Buddhist in sheep’s clothing who is looking to teach panentheism and meditation as a way to bring together a Global Family through transformation; then consider this:

Jesus and Buddha were teachers of a world-subverting wisdom that undermined and challenged conventional ways of seeing and being in their time. Their subversive wisdom was also an alternative wisdom: they taught a way or path of transformation. Thus both were teachers of the way less traveled (viii).

Do those last few words sound familiar, “the way less traveled”? Seems there was a book some years back by another Buddhist/“Christian” named M. Scott Peck called The Road Less Traveled. And don’t think it was a coincidence that in the publisher’s interview for his book Finding Faith Brian McLaren just happens to mention The Road Less Traveled as a “good” book along with C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. The interested reader is encouraged to follow my more in-depth comments of this issue in Emergent Church: Brian McLaren And Panentheism.

But back to what Borg is telling us about “these two enlightened teachers of an enlightenment wisdom” (xvii) Jesus and Buddha:

What Jesus and Buddha said about “the way” is remarkably similar…the forms of Jesus’ teaching–his aphorism and parables–most commonly functioned to invite a new way of seeing. So also for the Buddha. Indeed, the common description of him as “the enlightened one” points to the centrality of a new way of seeing (viii,ix, emphasis added).

The Psychological And Spiritual Shift

As we get set to close this Part, what you are about to see from Guru Borg is the clearest example yet of where McLaren himself will be heading, as well as all who will follow him in the transformation of the Emergent Church:

Enlightenment means seeing differently. Both Jesus and the Buddha sought to bring about in their hearers a radical perceptual shift–a new way of seeing life…both paths or ways involve a similar psychological and spiritual process of transformation (ix).

Here in no uncertain terms we are told that those who are performing the spiritual disciplines/practices of these “spiritual” teachers, chiefly transcendental meditation, will experience “enlightenment.” Our transformation specialist Guru Borg explains that this is a whole lot more involved than a little “paradigm” shift, rather the individual undergoes “a radical perceptual shift.” This results in “a new way of seeing” that is also “psychological and spiritual,” and this is what we are talking about when we speak of the “process of transformation.”

And finally Borg explains that the “way of the Buddha” is about embarking on “the path of letting go” while Jesus taught things that “point to the same path. Those who empty themselves will be emptied.” Borg tells us “this internal transformation is the same for both” Buddhist and Christian so there “is thus a Buddhist ‘born again’ experience as well as a Christian ‘liberation through enlightenment’ experience” (x). Any way we add this up; no amount of equivocating with words will change the fact that this is in no way compatible with the historic Christian faith.

In Part Five I’ll take you a little further into Guru Borg’s “appreciation of religious pluralism” and coincidently just how similar his view is to Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy. The more we look into McLaren’s association with these living teachers like heretical Episcopal priest Alan Jones and his reimagined Christianity that McLaren feels “emerges from authentic spirituality,” and the more we examine the panentheistic mysticism of closet Buddhist Marcus Borg with his historical-metaphorical approach to religious pluralism, the more we really can’t help but see the very sad case of Brian McLaren desperately trying to find teachers to scratch an apparently very itchy set of ears.

In any case, this counterfeit teacher simply should not be allowed to go on indoctrinating Christian pastors into this neopagan mysticism.