On Slice of Laodicea Steve Muse of Eastern Regional Watch wrote: “I came across this article yesterday, Evangelical Author Puts Progressive Spin On Traditional Faith by Caryle Murphy of the Washington Post, which clearly reveals Brian McLaren’s heart and mind with regard to Evangelical Christianity.” As Steve further points out: “Progressive Christianity which compared with the Emerging Church, is even more extreme in its views.”

In this article I begin a look at Murphy’s article concerning McLaren and how his views concerning the Christian faith are taking a decidedly “progressive” turn. McLaren’s “generous orthodoxy” fits in perfectly with the mission of The Center for Progressive Christianity to develop “strategies for evangelism that do not assume the absolute superiority of Christianity so that we do not contribute to the worlds divisions…[and b]eing a constructive force for social and enviornmental justice and peace in the world.”

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”…Then said Jesus to them again, “Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” (Luke 19:10; John 20:21, KJV,)

The Return Of The Social Gospel

In her article Evangelical Author Puts Progressive Spin On Traditional Faith about Emergent Guru Brian McLaren Washington Post Staff Writer Caryle Murphy unknowingly brings out just how far away from the Christian mission the Emergent rebellion against the Bible championed by McLaren has now strayed.

Murphy begins this piece by telling us about Lyndsey Moseley, an “environmental activist” who “was no longer inspired by the evangelical Christian faith of her youth.” We are not told however just what strain this supposed “evangelical Christian faith” was, and it could well have been any number of denominations. But in any event Moseley had by now become disillusioned with whatever church she was with because “she believed that it offered little spiritual support for her work and was overly focused on opposing abortion and gay marriage.”

That is until she was then led across the warped work of “Christian” social activist Brian McLaren who has apparently been sent to save the planet with the reimagined social gospel of the neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church. Murphy then tells us in The Washington Post that the “27-year-old” Moseley believes she found a better kind of Christianity when she:

discovered Brian D. McLaren of Laurel, one of contemporary Christianity’s hottest authors and founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in upper Montgomery County.

”He always talks about the environment as a priority when he talks about the church being relevant to the world,” Moseley said. “He’s leading a [spiritual] conversation that needs to happen,” one that “I’ve been hungry for.”

The problem is that the mission of the Christian Church is not to become “relevant to the world” at all. As born again Christians we are now aliens and strangers in the world (1 Peter 2:11), called out of it by God because our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there (Philippians 3:20). For now as the Body of Christ we are to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world here and Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God (James 4:4). Emergents love to confuse these issues in an attempt to placate the world but you just saw what the Bible says.

Just because there are increasing numbers of people like “environmental activist” Moseley, who may have worthy and admirable causes but are “no longer inspired by the evangelical faith,” is simply no reason to abandon proper doctrine in order to try and make Christ’s Church more socially “relevant.” Men do not convert men to the true Christian faith, God Himself does. And not only that there is nothing in the historic orthodox Christian faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3, ESV) which prevents any Christian from making their own lives more relevant to the surroundings in which the Lord places them.

Guru Brian McLaren Is An Emergent Spokesman For Progressive Christianity

Then Murphy goes on to explain to the more general audience of The Washington Post what those of us who have been following the Hollow Men of Emergent already knew:

McLaren has emerged as one of the most prominent voices in an increasingly active group of progressive evangelicals who are challenging the theological orthodoxy and political dominance of the religious right. He also is an intellectual guru of “emerging church,” a grass-roots movement among young evangelicals exploring new models of living out their Christian faith.

So much for the Emergent protest that we shouldn’t look at Guru Brian McLaren as a very “prominent” leader within this divisive movement which has slithered into our Lord’s Church because the truth is this is even the way McLaren sees himself. On page two of this article McLaren says, “the name ‘emerging church’ came out of a 2001 discussion he had with Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, about ‘why the megachurches were not attracting young people.’ ” The actual beginning of this Emergent rebellion however dates back to the Terra Nova project of Leadership Network.

Murphy informs us that these so-called “[p]rogressives,” itself a buzzword for a very liberal group of “Christians” very hostile to Reformed Biblical Christianity, “who range from 11 to 36 percent of all evangelicals,” allegedly “are still overshadowed by the Christian right among evangelicals.” But as she notes “the steady popularity of McLaren’s books over the past eight years signals an expanding diversity of thought in this important political constituency.” How interesting, here all the while Emergents decry “the Christian right” in politics, and now it seems this “antiestablishment” movement has apparently been creating its own “important political constituency” all along.

Murphy also tells us that Emergent does indeed have a political agenda:

McLaren, 50, offers an evangelical vision that emphasizes tolerance and social justice. He contends that people can follow Jesus’s way without becoming Christian. In the latest of his eight books, “The Secret Message of Jesus,” which has sold 55,000 copies since its April release, he argues that Christians should be more concerned about creating a just “Kingdom of God” on earth than about getting into heaven.

Along with such other progressive evangelicals as Washington-based anti-poverty activist Jim Wallis and educator Tony Campolo, McLaren is openly critical of the conservative political agenda favored by many evangelicals.

“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,” McLaren said in a recent interview.

The Progressive And Unregenerate Social Gospel

So back we go into the bohemian sixties and the “fight the power” mentality only this time we have dragged this pointless idealistic philosophy inside the Church of our Lord itself. But of prime concern to us here is McLaren’s contention that “people can follow Jesus’s way without becoming Christian.” This is something that is flatly rejected by God’s inerrant and infallible Word in the Bible. The life of cross-bearing self denial proposed by Jesus is impossible by human effort alone. However, the fallacious idea that people can themselves live up to Christian ideals is also rooted in the same old social gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch and the original Cult of Liberal Theology.

Rauschenbusch himself denied the need for one to be born again in order to live as “followers of Jesus” while in his own vacuous style McLaren simply doesn’t make the new birth an issue. But the Bible is quite clear what ministers of the Gospel, which Brian McLaren claims to be, are supposed to be doing:

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

And because men like McLaren and his pal Emergent prophet Tony Campolo do not preach the Word nor do they correct [and] rebuke with careful instruction we have now reached a time in the American Christian Church where young people like a Lyndsey Moseley will not put up with sound doctrine. It really couldn’t be any clearer for those the Lord has given eyes to see that the Ecumenical Church of Deceit (ECoD) of the new evangelicalism is paving the broad road of compromise back to the apostate Church of Rome and now:

the time [has come] when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (NASB)

The New “Have It Your Way” Christian Faith

So whether it be Rick Warren and Joel Osteen’s repainted Robert Schullerisms about your purpose-driven best life now, or the so-called “Christian” mysticism of reimagined Gnostics like Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster, people today are having no trouble finding plenty of counterfeit teachers more than ready to scratch ears that itch as if they have spiritual poison ivy. However, what has happened with the Emergent Church is that men like McLaren and Campolo have attached their own liberal social agendas to this movement reducing the majestic Christ Jesus of Nazareth–the Lord GOD Himself in human flesh–to a man-pleasing cause du jour.

And they have done this by misrepresenting what the Reformed Body of Christ actually believes which we observe McLaren do right here as he says, “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.” While this wows the subversive Emergent crowd it is in truth a gross distortion of what most evangelicals believe, and is a clear play to the concerns of their own target audience. And it also repaints with a huge brush a very false impression of the true Body of Christ.

Speaking here for myself as an anti-Emergent minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I am most certainly not “pro-war, anti-poor, anti-homosexual, anti-environment, pro-nuclear weapons,” nor do I portray Jesus as an “authority figure draped in an American flag.” This is the stereotype Emergent leaders have created because it arouses much emotion in their favor, particularly from the impressionable and idealistic young who are looking for a cause to give their lives to. But I tell you in the Lord that it is McLaren himself and the pseudo-Christian Emergent Church are the ones who are actually “making a travesty of the portrait of Jesus we find in the Gospels.”

There’s no need to jettison proper Reformed Christian doctrine in order to work to change the public’s misunderstandings of the Christian faith, but the fact still remains that the Body of Christ is here to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. We were not left here as some sort of public relations firm for God in order to assist Him in correcting the general public’s image of Him. Anyone who reads the Gospels apart from the postmodern indoctrination of the emerging Hollow Men will quickly be able to see the real Jesus Christ of Nazareth was not the least bit interested in living up to false ideals that the religious establishment of His day had concerning how they thought God should be.

And in the Washington Post article Murphy tells us that Emergent theologian Scot McKnight says McLaren “wants there to be greater cooperation among Christians.” Oddly enough you wouldn’t be able to tell that by McLaren’s criticisms of Reformed theology. McKnight, who has also begun attacking what he calls “neo-fundamentalists,” informs us that he feels McLaren “thinks evangelical Christians have aligned themselves too closely with the Republican Party. He wants to see Christians . . . pursue what is right, regardless of the political party’s platform.”

Well Brian, how do you know the majority of us in the American Christian Church believe any different? You don’t. And then Murphy goes on to tell us that:

What makes McLaren’s ideas attractive to progressive evangelicals appalls the more numerous conservatives. Noting that he fails to condemn homosexuality, one conservative Web site called him “A True Son of Lucifer” for ignoring “absolute biblical truth.” And last year, Baptists in Kentucky revoked a speaking invitation after McLaren said that followers of Jesus might not be the only ones to gain salvation.

Next time we’ll look further into Dr. D.A. Carson’s warning that when “you have some person or movement coming along calling into question the non-negotiables of Christianity, then those who espouse Christianity find such a challenge dangerous.” And I say when that person is Brian McLaren who also happens to be associated with Living Spiritual Teacher Marcus Borg, an Honary Advisor to the Executive Council of The Center for Progressive Christianity and fellow with the Christ-denying Jesus Seminar, the time has now arrived when God demands that we seriously begin to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

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