He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9).

Forward Into Battle; Um, I Think–But Maybe Not

The text I use is written to a man named Titus, who was himself a Christian “overseer” (Gr. episkopos)–the King James Version reads bishop. Here we can see what the Lord expects of all who are to be leaders within His Church, and this has nothing at all to do with a particular culture, as it clearly applies to all Christian leaders of every age. Since the Emergent Church considers itself a Christian group, and it is beyond question that Brian McLaren is one of its leading pastoral theologians, then we may use this text to judge McLaren’s leadership within the “Christian” community in which he ministers. The purpose of this short work is to focus more attention on the extremely faulty teachings espoused by McLaren that underlie the schismatic “conversation” of the new cult of liberal theology in the Emergent Church.

In the Foreword of McLaren’s book A Generous Orthodoxy Dr. John Franke gives us a summary of the philoso-theology of this “Christian leader”:

the centrality of Christ is combined with openness appropriate for generous orthodoxy. For instance, the biblical witness to Jesus Christ as the unique Savior and hope of the world does not demand a restrictive posture concerning salvation for those who have never heard the gospel or those in other religious traditions. Brian addresses the questions in this area that many Christians wrestle with and suggests that these need not be finally closed, but may remain open to hopeful engagement without undermining or compromising the importance of Christian witness and responsibility (12,13).

As one who has personally been studying this movement closely, I can speak from experience when I tell you this is the type of non-committal approach to the Christian witness that we find throughout this Emergent Church movement. If we grant that the Christian Church militant is to actually be involved in the spiritual war between Christ and Satan, then what we have just read would undoubtedly have to classify in military terms as desertion under fire. First we begin with a very mild acknowledgment of “the centrality of Christ in oneness,” which is actually put in terms that anyone in the Gnostic Mind Science cults could agree with. Next we get an ambiguous little bow to the Gospel with the statement that the Bible sees “Jesus Christ as the unique Savior”; um, unless that is, you are among those “who have never heard the gospel” or you happen to be one of “those in other religious traditions.”

So since the Christ (principle?) is the “unique Savior,” and at the same time not the unique Savior if you haven’t heard of Him (it?), then “we may remain hopeful” in approaching other religions “without undermining or compromising the importance of Christian witness.” Well that is, if we can figure out what this Christian mission actually is; because under this type of “witness,” where even those who haven’t heard the gospel are saved, then the best thing the Christian Church could do for mankind is to cease all missions immediately and begin a concerted campaign to hide all traces of Who Jesus Christ claimed to be so that all the world would remain saved. Now think for moment; can you figure out who might actually be behind such an offensive against Christ such as this?

For you see the above is the logical conclusion of the inclusivistic compromise concerning the true Christian mission we have just seen from McLaren and Franke. But if this were really true, then we would expect to see Christ Jesus say to those to whom He had inadvertently slipped up and then told about His being the unique Savior of the world:

Yikes guys; whew, My bad. Now you people had better make sure that you don’t go telling anyone else about My little snafu there. So why don’t all of you just stay here in Jerusalem until all of this hubbub dies down so that no one else will be forced to come to grips with the exclusivity of My message for all those who are then unfortunate enough to hear it. For remember what I told Thomas – ‘Because you have seen Me, you have believed; but now unfortunately your life’s going to be kind of hard.’ So the truth is, even more blessed are those who have never seen or never heard, for they can simply live any way they want to and still inherit Heaven because they’re already saved.

Christ Should Save Every Religion

In fact, later in A Generous Orthodoxy “Christian leader,” Emergent overseer and theologian Brian McLaren makes the following statements, which ought to appear to you as flags of the deepest scarlet when coming from an alleged minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

In this light, although I don’t hope all Buddhists will become (cultural) Christians, I do hope all who feel called will become Buddhist followers of Jesus; I believe they should be given that opportunity and invitation. I don’t hope all Jews or Hindus will become members of the Christian religion. But I do hope all who feel called will become Jewish or Hindu followers of Jesus. Ultimately, I hope Jesus will save Buddhism, Islam, and every other religion, including the Christian religion, which often seems to need saving about as much as any other religion does (264).

Since when does the Christian–by definition a disciple of Christ (see–Acts 11:26)–hope that Jesus will save “every other religion”? Yet as ambassadors for Christ McLaren would tell us that we are to “hope all who feel called” (insert your religion here) will become “followers of Jesus,” and this without even having to be reconciled to God in Christ, and regenerated by God the Holy Spirit. O when will we finally see some $evangelical$ leaders who have enough spiritual backbone to finally stand up and denounce this New Downgrade No-Controversy. Or are you one of them who’re just happy convincing yourself that you are actually following in the huge footsteps of C.H. Spurgeon all the while protecting your precious little reputations? Let me ask you: When you see the smoke, just how much of your house has to end up being burned down before you finally realize that it’s on fire?

And Dr. Franke tells us a little more about McLaren’s “Christian” mission when he writes:

His discussion follows in the spirit of the influential missionary theologian Lesslie Newbigin who articulated his own position concerning Christ and salvation along the following lines: exclusive in the sense of affirming the unique truth of the revelation in Jesus Christ, but not in the sense of denying the possibility of salvation to those outside the Christian faith: inclusive in the sense of refusing to limit the saving grace of God to Christians, but not in the sense of viewing other religions as salvific; pluralist in the sense of acknowledging the gracious work of God in the lives of all human beings, but not in the sense of denying the unique and divisive nature of what God has done in Jesus Christ (Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, Eerdmans, 1989, 182-3) (13).

Anyone who has any common sense can see here the contradictions inherent in trying to harmonize Christ’s actual Words with this gibberish intended to be all things to all men. Friend, it’s so obvious! In fact, here’s the full title of McLaren’s book – A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I AM A missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamental/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + infinished CHRISTIAN. Do the words “scratch their itching ears” come to mind here? Rather than trying to appreciate that McLaren is allegedly attempting to make the Christian message more acceptable to the world (which would be bad enough), shouldn’t we rather offended that he’s just carelessly lumping beliefs and “faith traditions/tribes” together that have diametrically opposed views?

But for this abysmal adulteration of the historic orthodox Christian faith purposed by McLaren and his fellow revisionists in the Emergent Church to actually work, one will have to surgically remove from the Bible Matthew’s eyewitness account of our Lord’s absolutely scathing rebukes to leaders of the world religion of Judaism in chapter 23. For passages such as this stand in stark contrast to the counterfeit “kindler, gentler” Jesus put forth by the major pillars in Satan’s Ecumenical Church of Deceit, the CEO-seeker sensitive Purpose Driven Church, the “subversive” seeker sensitive Emergent Church and the self-centered seeker sensitive Word Faith Church. Now can you figure out why “scholars” are seriously questioning whether Matthew actually wrote this Gospel, having already been working feverishly to get rid of the Apostle John’s eyewitness testimony of Christ saying No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). You see; it would seem that the actual Christ Jesus of Nazareth didn’t happen to share the insipid inclusivism of man-lovers Rick Warren and Brian McLaren and Rob Bell and Joel Osteen, each of whom are Christian leaders within this ecumenical $new evangelical$ religion.

A Christian Leader Must Preach The Word

Which returns us now to our look at Emergent Church Leader Brian McLaren and the subject of leadership within the Church of Jesus Christ. Holy Scripture teaches that to even qualify as a Christian leader or theologian McLaren must be able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2), he has to preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2), and as our initial text says he also must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. However, in McLaren’s case we don’t even get anywhere near close to the bold part of this verse because by his own words he isn’t even sure what the trustworthy message as it has been taught actually is:

If I seem to show too little respect for your opinions or thought, be assured I have equal doubts of my own, and I don’t mind if you think I’m wrong. I am sure I am wrong about many things, although I’m not sure exactly which things I’m wrong about. I’m even sure I’m wrong about what I think I’m right about in at least some cases. So wherever you think I’m wrong, you could be right (19,20).

And McLaren has no excuse for this extremely poor example as a Christian leader because in A Generous Orthodoxy he informs us that despite “no formal training in theology” he has apparently demonstrated himself capable enough that he is “adjunct faculty at several seminaries.” How sad is that?! McLaren even has “received an honorary doctorate from a respected seminary (Carey Theological College in Vancouver, BC)” even though he has “never taken a single for-credit seminary class” (156,157). I offer that this in itself is not necessarily an issue, as I’m not formally trained myself; the problem here is that now we have a Christian “theologian” and leader who already sounds more confused than the sheep and ministers he is supposed to be feeding for Christ.

So just what is it McLaren does end up feeding these precious lambs and under-shepherds who belong to Jesus Christ our Great Shepherd? Pure spiritual strychnine; and we then come full circle in his inclusive teachings when McLaren writes that we should become “humble followers of Jesus,” ah, but this absolutely does not mean the Christian faith you are accustomed to hearing from a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

The Christian faith I am proposing, should become (in the name of Jesus Christ) a welcome friend to other religions of the world, not a threat. We should be seen as a protector of their heritages, a defender against common enemies, not one of their enemies. Just as Jesus came originally not to destroy the law but to fulfill it, not to condemn people but to save them. I believe he comes today not to destroy or condemn anything (anything but evil) but to redeem everything that can be redeemed or saved (p.254, emphasis his).

The spiritual obstruction with eternal consequences and wishful thinking here by Emergent Church theologian Brian McLaren just simply cannot be squared with the actual mission our Lord gave to His Church. We begin with a terrible misunderstanding of the Christian faith on the part of McLaren that even the late great agnostic Robert Ingersol would have seen right through because he once said: “If this religion is true, then there is only one Savior, only one narrow path to life. Christianity cannot live in peace with any other religion.” Then the next problem is that McLaren totally misrepresents why Christ came in the first place. Yes, the Master did come to fulfill the Law, “not to condemn people but to save them”; however, what this Christian leader apparently doesn’t comprehend is that Jesus didn’t have to condemn mankind because we are condemned already. For this is literally what we are told by Christ Himself in John 3:18 – “Whoever believes in [God the Son–Jesus of Nazareth] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already.”

The Offense Of The Cross

In conclusion, you need to understand that what has happened in their (probably well-intentioned) effort to placate the world is this whole seeker sensitive ecumenical $new evangelical$ kingdom has ended up losing the Sovereign Lord Himself; Jesus Christ, Who should have been their First Love. Men and women, you truly must realize that this Emergent Church movement itself is a very grave danger to our naturally skeptical young adults and teens here in definitely pagan and allegedly “postmodern” America. And although I have said this before, I am constrained to say it again; if this spiritual cancer growing within the Church of our Lord is not systematically eradicated from the Body of Christ, it will kill the mainstream $evangelical$ community just as dead as its older sister–the original cult of liberal theology–once killed the mainline denominations years ago.

The mission of the Christian Church, as we follow our Master to the cross, is absolutely not a mission of peace with other religions. Jesus Himself tells us – “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And in his classic devotional My Utmost For His Highest Oswald Chambers was dead on target when he said:

If God has had His way with you, your message as His servant is merciless insistence on the one line, cut down to the very root, otherwise there will be no healing. Drive home the message until there is no possible refuge from its application. Begin to get at people where they are until you get them to realize what they lack, and then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for their lives – “We never can be that.” Then drive it home – “Jesus Christ says you must.” “But how can we be?” “You cannot, unless you have a new Spirit.” (Luke 11:13.)

There must be a sense of need before your message is of any use. Thousands of people are happy without God in this world. If I was happy and moral till Jesus came, why did he come? Because that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to Himself.

Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is a farce, there was no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but a surgical operation. The one thing we have to do is to exhibit Jesus Christ crucified, to lift Him up all the time. Every doctrine that is not imbedded in the Cross of Jesus Christ will lead astray. The calling of a New Testament worker is to uncover sin and to reveal Jesus Christ as Savior.

And don’t you know that the moment of Truth has arrived for the Body of Christ? If we have any hope of reaching those who are dropping in droves into an eternity in Hell, then the Church of Jesus Christ simply must remember what our Master said about the only way for us to accomplish His mission:

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.