Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.
(Proverbs 25:26)

Sending Mixed Messages Even Though Well Intentioned

In what I consider a bit of an unfortunate article by Sean McDowell at Christian Worldview Network, which served as his review of the book They Like Jesus But Not The Church by Emergent Church Pastor Dan Kimball, McDowell writes:

There is little doubt that the contemporary church is in trouble. Statistics reveal an unsettling exodus from the church by younger generations who are “spiritual, but not religious.” Pastor Dan Kimball has addressed this disturbing trend head-on in his new book They Like Jesus but not the Church (Zondervan, 2007). Dan is a pastor at Vintage Faith Church and the author of multiple books on the emerging church* His book is endorsed by Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Greg Koukl, and other respected conservative voices. (Online source)

This is rather sad news because it now lends further evangelical credibility to the anti-Reformation which is now going on within the Ecumenical Church of Deceit of the new evangelicalism. Dan Kimball is often painted as being thoroughly orthodox but I’ll show you in Part Two that he is most definitely not completely orthodox and these other gentlemen seem to be wearing their hearts on their sleeves in wishful thinking, possibly because Dan is such a nice guy. O please, can we finally put this most ridiculous argument out to pasture once and for all. I have met tons of nice people with various false beliefs, some of which Dan also has, but in love I have had to correct them.

Titus 1:9 tells the minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ he is to hold – fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. Now this necessitates that we actually know what this faithful word is and we therefore also need to know what sound doctrine is or we would never know when to refute those who contradict. If we listen to rapidly multiplying and emboldened Emergent fools like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell and Tony Jones we are told this sound doctrine has to reinterpreted in each generation. Right, as SNL’s ol’ Church Lady would say: “How convenient.”

The Culturally Relevant And Missional Idol Of Straw

Uh-oh, seems I was just a little bit culturally relevant there. But the Emergent Church loves to yammer on with one of their prize straw men that someone like me who holds to the sound doctrine of what Dr. Walter Martin often called the historic orthodox Christian Church ignores the culture. Well, this is a lie; and it’s not in accord with the faithful word, so now I publicly refute those who contradict it. I ask $evangelical$ leaders; now was that so hard? Then in regard to Kimball’s book filled with his emerging whining McDowell says, “Rather than relying on statistics to make his case, Dan interviewed young non-Christians as to their perspectives of the contemporary church.”

O wow; like this has never been done before. I am indebted to Dr. John MacArthur for the idea behind the following illustration. Have we really forgotten Robert Schuller? He asked unbelievers of his generation what they wanted the Church of the LORD God Almighty to be like and we received the Crystal Cathedral of Norman Vincent Peale positive thinking. Bill Hybels, a protégé of Schuller’s, was next. He asked unbelievers what the Church purchased by the very blood of their Creator should be and Hybel’s generation wanted the empowerment of women. Then came Rick Warren, another devotee of Schuller’s squalid school of kissing unbeliever’s backsides, and now the culture has told God He must give them CEO-styled leaders with rockin’ theatres if they are going to grace Him with their presense.

And now McDowell informs us that good ol’ Dan has come along talking to “emerging generations” – whatever is so special about this particular generation of sinners eludes me – but now it seems this emerging generation of unregenerate rebels has ordered their absolutely and completely sovereign Creator to give them a religion with disappearing doctrine and spurious spirituality. Bottom line check: Lost sinners desperately in need of a Savior in any and every generation are…well, lost sinners desperately in need of a Savior. This is about as relevant as it gets folks. In God’s inerrant and infallible Word–the Bible–it is irreversibly written – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and – For the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). This is the way it is whether you’re a primitive headhunter or a primitive Fortune 500 executive.

“Missional” Living At Rock Springs Mission Church Circa 1994

It is sad to say this about men whom I respect; however McDowell, Strobel and Koukl simply ought to know better as they are fine apologists in their own right but apparently they also are becoming mesmerized by this alleged emerging generation. Frankly articles like this from Sean McDowell are actually harmful to those of us who know that there is no need for an emerging church movement and that its own roots are in the “Terranova Project” of Leadership Network. Prior to 1997 there were some people around separately following their human reasoning to put praxis ahead of doctrine, but in reality they were actually trying to “reach” cultures without the power of God the Holy Spirit. O yeah, does anyone still remember Him?

But I can tell you for a fact that as an SBC pastor myself who planted Rock Springs Mission Church back in 1994 I know that there was no talk of an “emerging church” movement back then. You see, I would have embraced it myself at that time because I was already doing the whole “missional” thing long before there was any mention of it. Though I’m not proud of it, this was complete with long hair down the middle of my back, very casual dress, an earring, goatee, and with my own secular rock band coming out of the church and playing in local bars. While this does bring people into a church building because they think it’s “cool” I also know that it doesn’t please the Lord and we labor in vain without His power.

So in that case there are few real conversions, mostly just an increase in bodies filling up a “church” building. In addition I’m also a former Roman Catholic and good friends with former Roman Catholic priest (25+ years) Richard Bennett and later as I would study the Emergent Church the apostate practices of its core doctrine of contemplative mysticism were immediately evident to me. I have only mentioned all of this so the reader will better understand why God called me to address this new cult of liberal theology. You should also know that this “missional” time in Rock Springs, WY would then lead me to two years in L.A. as a solo-acoustic singer-songwriter after I resigned the pastorate. You see, unlike Rob Bell, when I began to have some doubts I left the church and worked them out with Lord keeping it between the two of us.

I will tell you that the spiritual surgery Christ would perform on me without anesthesia afflicted and wounded me very deeply, as well as others around me, but it also freed me and prepared me for this unique perspective I now have on this Emergent rebellion against the Bible. And you must understand that this is exactly what it is. As it is written: Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained (Proverbs 29:18). My point here being that while all these learned professors have been reading each other’s books and having their circular “conversations” I have been busy personally living through these things. Like I said earlier, during my Mission Church years there simply was no talk whatsoever of any emerging church movement.

The Emergent Church Had A Beginning

In fact, the first time most of us heard about it was in Christianity Today and “The Emergent Mystique” in 2004. As I close this Part One I address the question: “What is the difference between the emerging church and the Emergent Church.” Short answer virtually none; long answer, this whole Emergent pseudo-Christian thing has a beginning. They don’t like to hear it and they deny it but someone like me already knows what I have now shared with you. In addition, around 1997 an organization called Leadership Network wanted to gather some youth pastors and ministers to start that Terranova Project as a Young Leaders Network. Doug Pagitt was asked to gather them and among these people were Chris Seay and Mike Driscoll, who were perhaps the most dominant voices.

Among others that were there are, Sally Morgenthaler, Joe Vestal and Andrew Jones of the Tall Skinny Kiwi blog. I also know that Erwin McManus was considered to be one of these ten original young leaders. However he was rejected, not on theological grounds, but because several of them felt Erwin was arrogant and egotistical. There are many around Mosaic who can corroborate the barbarian self-aggrandizing of Erwin McManus. In any event these people are almost all neo-orthodox in their subjective/mystical approach to the Bible and semi-pelagian in their view of mankind. Driscoll has since distanced himself publicly but from what I know from other sources I personally don’t buy it. They are all into this “missional kingdom” building which is actually a twist on dominion theology.

The Southern Baptist Convention, as well as most of apostatizing $evangelicalism$ itself, is hugely into this false teaching right now which is why they are all in love this whole phony centered on man “emerging culture” rubbish. In Part Two I’ll show you more specifics about Dan Kimball’s Emergent teachings and his ecumenical acceptance of the apostate Church of Rome as another legitimate form of Christianity. No matter what a person might personally believe in this regard the issue is that the Church Reformers, from which evangelical Protestantism claims to derive from, rejected the Roman Catholic Church as preaching a wrong doctrine of salvation. And the fact is Romanism still preaches the exact same false gospel today which I show conclusively in A Different Gospel Cannot Be The Same Gospel.