It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

Christian Marxism? Christian Communism?

The video clip below features Mark Van Steenwyk sharing about the neo-monastic movement he is a part of, which is the same thing that emerging church icon Shane Claiborne is aligned with. Van Steenwyk, who posted the clip on You Tube, tells us that he’s actually promoting his “new monasticism session at the Willow Creek Group Life Conference in September 2007.” Now maybe you can see why it’s really little surprise that Bill Hybels is so willing to embrace the heretical Emergent Church guru Brian McLaren.

Or maybe you didn’t know that this neo-monastic “Protestant” evangelical return to the religious bondage of apostate Roman Catholicism has also positioned itself as another offshoot of the emerging church. Using its patented smorgasbord spiritual blender approach to the Christian faith—picking and choosing whatever they like from any movement/tradition which even remotely claims it was/is Christian—they then puree its doctrine until it takes on the fluid consistency necessary to reimagine [read: twist] it with the relativism of postmodernism.

Ah, but it gets even more peculiar. As I have begun studying this neo-monastic movement—and Shane Claiborne in particular—I have come to see all of this as yet one more “subversive” Emerging Church rebellion against the authority of God’s Word. In fact, it really is a kind of “Christian” Marxism as R.J. Stevens earlier pointed out concerning Rob Bell in his insightful piece Rob Bell Preaches from Marx Gospel.

Actually this all began to dawn on me a while back when I was watching a few documentaries on the Vietnam War. And as I listened to all of the political protesting I believe the Lord helped me to recall that I’d been hearing this same kind of rhetoric coming from Bell and Brian McLaren and lately Shane Claiborne, only they have been “protesting” using spiritual terms. It’s essentially an Americanized version of the old liberation theology repainted and repackaged along with the social gospel of liberal theologian and humanist social activist Walter Rauschenbusch.

Emergent Subversive Revolutionaries In God’s “New Conspiracy”

So now with the political scene of the 60’s in mind as background, and considering that professors in Bible colleges today would have been shaping their ideologies in college themselves at that time, look at the posters a third of the way down on the right hand side of The Missio Dei Breviary. This website itself is an offshoot of a neo-monastic “community” called Missio Dei. And the founding member and “pastor” of this collection of self-styled mystic monks just happens to be Mark Van Steenwyk.

Just by way of further introduction Apprising Ministries points out that Van Steenwyk is also “cohort-inator” of the emerging church group called the Twin Cities Emergent Cohort, which “meets at noon on the 2nd Thursday of each month at Solomon’s Porch” (Online source). His fellow “cohorts” at TCEC include both Doug Pagitt and Emergent Church theologian Tony Jones, who are also involved with Van Steenwyk in “bringing emergentesque goodness to Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond…” (Online source)

And then interestingly enough at the end of this month both Van Steenwyk and Shane Claiborne will be at The New Conspirators Conference along with emerging Abbess Karen Ward. You may also find it of interest that, while these emerging church people have trouble with “certitude” concerning what God’s Word says, apparently they are sure that it is the Lord Who is bringing neo-monastics together with these other Emergent Church revolutionaries and fellow resisters in “God’s conspiracy”:

The New Conspirators…What in the World is God Doing?

What in the world is God doing? God is conspiring through a new generation to re-imagine and create new expressions of discipleship, community, church and mission to make a difference in our rapidly changing world. While God is indeed conspiring through a new generation, this gathering is an invitation for those from all generations to become much more a part of God’s conspiracy of compassion and creativity. (Online source)

Finally, at the end of this short clip of revisionist history about monasticism you’ll hear Van Steenwyk say that these new monastics “kind of embody the Gospel in a new way.” But in truth, a more fitting reimagining of Van Steenwyk’s last sentence would be that these neo-monastic Roman Catholic-embracing “Protestant”postevangelical monks actually embody a different gospel in a very old way.

See Also:


Willow Creek & The New Monasticism