Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2 Corinthians 6:14-16, NASB)

It Just Gets Deeper

As so happened with my research into Emergent Church Pastor Rob Bell, who planted the very popular Mars Hill Bible Church, it has also happened here with Erwin McManus. I had absolutely zero interest in either of them but undoubtedly the Lord had other ideas. Due to the amount of writing I would be led to do Apprising Ministries is now listed at Wikipedia in the Criticism section concerning Bell whom I have deemed the Elvis of Emergent because to his fast rising status to cultural icon for this Emergent rebellion against the Word of God.

And so now I have also been led of God to begin a thorough examination into the theology of rising Emergent SBC “Lead Pastor and Cultural Architect” Erwin McManus of Mosaic, which we’re told “emerges as a reference point for the future” as I point out in SBC Pastor or Human Potential Advocate. Another thing I have noticed in my research into the neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church over this past year is that as soon one turns over spiritual rocks on one issue other things also come slithering out into the light.

One of these things that has come to be seen more clearly is the Emergent Church, which is in its basic essence a repainted/reimagined social gospel of the new liberalism, has penetrated much deeper into the ranks of the SBC than I would ever have thought. O and I can just hear the pedantic protests of “guilt by association” arising. Save it, I’ve heard them before and God Himself already told us in no uncertain terms e.g. in the text above–apparently unless one is a postmodern relativist–Do not be bound together with unbelievers. The absolute truth is that according to God who you associate with does cast aspersions upon who you are and what you do.

There are those who will say, “Now you are trying to say Rob Bell and Erwin McManus are ‘unbelievers.’ ” No, this wouldn’t necessarily follow because I’m speaking of the underlying spiritual principle God the Holy Spirit is teaching us in this verse which is also completely consistent with Ephesians 5:11-12 – Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. As you should be able to see fruitless deeds of darkeness is simply equated with what the disobedient do and it does not logically follow these disobedient must then be unbelievers.

Erwin McManus’ Theology Is Emergent

There will be more to come later on the Emergent theology of Erwin McManus, “distinguished lecturer and futurist” at Bethel Seminary but for now we establish an interesting Emergent connection to another of these so-called “futurists” in Leonard Sweet. Inside the back cover of the current Christianity Today magazine is an ad for the upcoming Faith Forward conference presented by Robert Schuller, a virtual “who’s who” of warped theology of self-centered human potential, billed as a “Forum for Possibility Thinking Leadership” Sweet is listed as “World Renowned Futurist.”

I cover some of what Sweet has been up to and what he stands for in Leonard Sweet: Guilty By Association, Absolutely. Sweet then gives his own glowing endorsement of Erwin McManus’ book An Unstoppable Force (UF) at Erwin O, and you might also wish to make note of the endorsement of some other guy named Rick Warren who is listed just prior to Sweet. Somewhere it seems we may have heard of him as having a Purpose Driven Church:

“I love this book because Erwin loves the church. Growing churches require growing leaders. This book will help you along the way.”
– Rick Warren – Lead Pastor, Saddleback Church. Author, The Purpose Driven Church.

“If I could only require one text for all my divinity students, if I could only recommend one book for every religious leader, this would be the one.”
– Leonard Sweet – E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism Drew University, Madison, NJ.

Men and women, in my view having the endorsement of Rick Warren for a book I had written would be bad enough. But if that book I had written was so far afield from the historic orthodox Christian faith that it had the ringing endorsement of a so-called “World Renowned Futurist” in the very liberal United Methodist Church who recommends the panentheistic “Quantum Spirituality” of what he calls “the New Light” I would very quickly be looking for a torch and the nearest town square! (see–Acts 19:18-20) I sure wouldn’t advertise that travesty for the whole world to see. And yet McManus uses this endorsement because his own theology is just as corrupt as Leonard Sweet, who just happens to be a very close friend with Emergent Church Guru Brian McLaren.

Here is your Emergent, and not to mention dominion, theology as the blurb for UF says: “In An Unstoppable Force, author Erwin McManus offers a vision of the church taking its rightful place. An unstoppable force created to change the world.” This wrong idea of the “followers of Jesus” bringing the “kingdom of God” to fruition upon this earth is exactly what the redefined social gospel of the Emergent Church teaches. However, this is given a death blow by the following examination of a few pertinent Scriptures. For example, standing before Pilate, Christ Jesus of Nazareth clearly says – “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36) Uh-oh.

One would have to think that God the Son–the LORD God Himself in human flesh–would be a fairly reliable Source as to things of this nature. The fact is, though pouty “postmoderns” are quite reticent in dealing with them, this is all quite consistent with what God the Holy Spirit had revealed of God the Father’s ultimate plans for this current cursed creation. Consider the following from the inspired prophet Isaiah – “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17) and this from the Apostle John – “Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first Heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea” (Revelation 21:1).

Now the Emergent boys like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren are more than welcome to their inclusive view that when Christ died on the Cross He reconciled not just all men but even the entire “world” itself (Greek: kosmos) back to God and therefore all men are forgiven and we need only to convince them to “repent” (i.e. follow Jesus) if they want to accept this forgiveness. Whether McManus goes that far in his own view of the atonement is unclear, but he does hold their warped Emergent view of the so-called “divine potential” of all mankind. This is made clear from the Summer 2003 issue of Heart & Mind from Bethel Seminary where McManus is resident futurist. In the article Bethel San Diego Participates in Church Leadership Institute we’re told:

Bethel Seminary San Diego participated in the Crystal Cathedral’s Institute for Successful Church Leadership in Garden Grove, Calif., in January. Among the distinguished speakers were Bill Hybels, Bruce Wilkenson, H.B. London, and Erwin McManus,…

You’ll recall I mentioned Faith Forward earlier which is officially sponsored by that very same Crystal Cathedral’s Institute for Successful Church Leadership which connects Robert Schuller, Rick Warren and Bill Hybels to this repugnant idea that mankind has some inherent dignity worthy of the incredible sacrifice God made on behalf of totally depraved mankind. It as I said when I began, each time we turn over another spiritual rock the connections between these Emergent deceivers and Church Growth Gurus in what I have called the Ecumenical Church of Deceit (ECoD) just get deeper.

The Leadership Of The SBC Has A Critical Decision To Make

One can’t help but wonder exactly how many red flags have to fly over an individual like Erwin McManus before leadership within the Southern Baptist Convention finally take note. As I begin to wrap this piece up let me bring to your attention once again the upcoming On Target Evangelism Conference I mentioned in Why Would the SBC Embrace the Emergent Church? where McManus will be speaking alongside the very questionable Ken Blanchard. Just how “on target” in their evangelism can men be who are so obviously enamored with the human potential movement and new age philosophies?

The Lord is my witness that as I read most of their writings I say out loud: “Well then, who needs God? Where is the Lord in all of this?” And finally we need to consider the close ties Erwin McManus has with people who were there in the very beginning of the Emerging Church movement like church planter Andrew Jones. Jones, aka “Tall Skinny Kiwi” speaks of McManus as “my friend” and informs us that he “was with Erwin when he did his first youth service in East L.A.” Jones also tells us that McManus is “serving Jesus alongside me.”

Andrew and I have had our own discussions and he can hardly say the same kinds of things about me. While Andrew strikes me as very sincere and obviously personable, there is a great chasm fixed between our theological opinions. My point being that Erwin McManus is without a doubt a growing part of a very real penetration of the Emergent Church into the Southern Baptist Convention. I close this piece by bringing you into the Emergent Village (EV) that you may see for yourself what I have been researching for this past year. Under About Emergent Village we read: “Emergent Village is a growing, generative friendship among missional Christians seeking to love our world in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Sounds good at first glance but one needs to know a couple of other important facts concerning what this actually means in regard to the genuine Christian faith.

1) Brian McLaren is on the Board of Directors and this Emergent Church cannot be separated from this heretic who denies both the inerrancy and final authority of the Bible and the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross And 2) Contemplative Spirituality is a core doctrine of the Emergent Church and its theology is in stark opposition to the Reformation. This is absolutely proven beyond question in a section called Values & Practices. Also note the reference to what Brian McLaren calls “a generous orthodoxy” as we read of Emergent:

We are committed to a “generous orthodoxy” in faith and practice – affirming the historic Christian faith and the biblical injunction to love one another even when we disagree. We embrace many historic spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, contemplation, study, solitude, silence, service, and fellowship, believing that healthy theology cannot be separated from healthy spirituality

We are committed to honor and serve the church in all its forms – Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Anabaptist. We practice “deep ecclesiology” – rather than favoring some forms of the church and critiquing or rejecting others, we see that every form of the church has both weaknesses and strengths, both liabilities and potential. (emphasis mine)

The obvious embrace of the apostate Church of Rome, which Dr. John MacArthur calls a front for the kingdom of Satan, as a Christian church reveals this movement cannot be of God. So this will now bring us full circle back to the non-negotiable underlying spiritual principle within our text of 2 Corinthians 6 – Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? And now also is a huge decision laid by Christ Jesus Himself at the feet of the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention like Dr. Frank Page who has been praising and applauding these Emergent deceivers who have now penetrated our ranks in order to draw disciples away after themselves. Because the time has arrived to stand and be counted, and question before the SBC has become: Will you obey God rather than men?

He who still has an ear to hear, then let him hear what the Spirit says to the Church…