For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NKJV)

Emergent Lessons In Missing The Point

“Am I Missing Something Here?” So asks self-described “emerging leader” Nathan Neighbour whose “pastor” is cultural architect, distinguished furturist and emerging church leader Erwin McManus. And yes Nathan, by listening to false teachers like McManus, you are missing something; the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The fact is that in Erwin McManus’ False Teachings Ron Foster, a correspondent for Apprising Ministries, is exactly right when he says:

Erwin McManus has made it crystal clear that he hates Christianity. This is very well documented. He has said, “The greatest enemy of the movement of Jesus Christ is Christianity,” and “My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ”… There are many who claim to be Christians but show no evidence of Christ being their Lord… We should hate that kind of “Christianity”…

But that’s not the kind of Christianity Erwin McManus is talking about. No, he’s talking about biblical Christianity. He’s talking about the Christianity of the Gospels, the Christianity of the Apostles, the Christianity that triumphed in the Reformation when certain godly men stood up for truth against Roman Catholic heresy. When Erwin says he wants to destroy Christianity, he is speaking of the Church of Jesus Christ that exalts God’s glory in justification by faith alone to the glory of God alone. Simply put, Erwin wants to destroy Truth.

Neighbour, minion of McManus, then demonstrates the above quite clearly as he begins in superciliousness:

I know that the watchdoggies hold to the words of Spurgeon just as much as the words of Christ. It seems like the voices of the past are at equal level with scripture. (Online source)

Let me first say that this is patently false and is in fact simply another lame attempt to advance what has become a pet Emergent straw man. What Neighbour is reacting to here is a devotional called Our Sickle by Charles Spurgeon originally posted at AM’s sister site Christian Research Net.

In his apparent haste to criticize the historic Biblical Christian faith Foster refers to above Neighbour completely misses the key point Spurgeon was making about the proper preaching of the Gospel:

The honest preacher calls a sin a sin and a spade a spade and says to men, “You are ruining yourselves; while you reject Christ you are living on the borders of Hell, and ere long you will be lost to all eternity. There shall be no mincing the matter; you must escape the wrath to come by faith in Jesus or be driven forever from God’s presence and from all hope of joy.” The preacher must make his sermons cut. Our sickle is made on purpose to cut. The Gospel is intended to wound the conscience and to go right through the heart, with the design of separating the soul from sin and self, as the corn is divided from the soil. (emphasis mine)

An Emerging Example Of The New Downgrade No-Controversy

Spurgeon was building upon his opening idea where the “Prince of Preachers,” pastor of a church which would be megachurch size today, had just rebuked the very mealy-mouthed man-loving message currently preached by McManus:

The man whom God means to be a laborer in his harvest must not come with soft and delicate words and flattering doctrines concerning the dignity of human nature and the excellence of self-help and of earnest endeavors to rectify our lapsed condition and the like. Such mealymouthedness may God curse, for it is the curse of this age.

Sadly, Erwin McManus and his Mosaic of hate toward the Biblical doctrines of grace continue to make the very mistake Spurgeon was addressing in this devotional. Spurgeon had just said that the insipid and impotent preachers of the Downgrade of his day made it a point:

never to deal with men’s consciences, never to upbraid them for their sins, never tell them of their danger, never to invite them to a Savior with tears and entreaties–what a powerless work this is!

And yet all Neighbour can do is to try and set up a red herring within a seeker sensitive smokescreen:

I don’t recall where we are called to fatally wound people with gospel. I see stories of Jesus being direct and strong with gospel, but never fatally wounding. In fact, the only people he was that strong with, were the religious leaders who were hurting people with the law of God.

The problem is Spurgeon wasn’t advocating that anyone “fatally wound people” because he taught what the Bible says; namely, that unregenerate men are already dead in their sins and trespasses. And you can’t kill a dead man. Then Neighbour trots out the old Emergent eggplant about how Jesus was only “strong with” people who were “religious leaders.”

The New Testament record doesn’t bear that out. And this is all just the emerging smokescreen from which these rebels attack proper preachers of the Gospel in favor of their new breed culture-craving crooners of relevance and the fine arts. But it is Neighbour’s final comment which is so very revealing. He whines in his version of the “gospel” that, “It should not be a tool to simply walk through fields of people, cutting people down that are not well.”

The New Evangelical Religion Of The Love Of Self

However, what those in this narcissistic new evangelicialism don’t understand is that these people aren’t simply “not well”; they are in fact dead. And this is a good place to draw your attention to a quote on the front of Neighbour’s personal blog which shows you his love of self (see–2 Timothy 3:2):

‘our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us the most.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, famous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just some of us; it’s in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. And as we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (Online source)

Note that Neighbour attributes this quote to Nelson Mandela. But in Emergent Church Pastor Rob Bell Recites the Mystic Mantra for the New Evangelical Religion of Man’s Love of Self I have shown that Mandela didn’t say this. This quote actually comes from A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A COURSE IN MIRACLES by New Age Guruess Marianne Williamson. I personally explained this to Neighbour and yet there it remains. Pretty sad when your emerging new evangelical religion passing for the Christian faith is in agreement with the theology of the New Age.

It is also very unfortunate that Neighbour decided to try and set up a false dichotomy here by saying that those of us he mockingly refers to as “watchdoggies” supposedly “hold to the words of Spurgeon just as much as the words of Christ.” For you see, what this devotion by Spurgeon is actually talking about with his reference to the sickle just happens to be right out of what Christ Himself says concerning the subject of evangelism.

Please note in the following that it is the Master Himself using the word sickle:

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29, NASB)

I humbly offer that before a young man like Neighbour decides to take on a man powerful in Christ like Spurgeon he should spend a lot less time meditating on the mystic musings of Erwin McManus and instead start listening to the absolute Truth of Jesus Christ.