The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. (Romans 1:18-19)

Ancient Gnosticism And Futurist Dominion Theology Meet in McManus

At the SBC-owned Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary San Francisco-area Mill Valley campus in January of 2006 distinguished lecturer and futurist at Bethel Seminary Erwin McManus spoke to a leadership class. Apprising Ministries reminds the reader that McManus is also lead pastor and cultural architect at Mosaic, which happens to be a church that has been in the Southern Baptist Convention for 60 years. Yet McManus told these students in classic postevangelical Emergentese: “Spiritual leaders are essentially cultural architects who shape their culture.”

Uh-huh, right. So that’s what caused each Apostle save John to be brutally murdered. These ambassadors for Jesus Christ were shaping their culture. Hardly; they were martyred for confronting their pluralistic culture with the unchanging and timeless Truth of God’s infallible and inerrant Word in Holy Scripture. This is in stark contrast to our people-pleasing postevangelical futurists and cultural architects like Emerging Church lead pastor Erwin McManus. Not to mention that faithful men who spoke the Word of God boldly are also quite at odds with Emergent Church leaders Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell at the Interspiritual Seeds of Compassion Event with Dalai Lama and their universalist New Spirituality.

This Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, which is a core doctrine of the Emerging Church is actually a throwback to the Gnosticism of the first century which I talk about in Understanding the New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind (UNS). We’ve already shown you in James Emery White Promotes Contemplative Mysticism that it’s currently slithering deeper into mainstream evangelicalism as well. And now you’re about to see this concept come emerging from McManus in an October 2006 interview for Infuse: Art, Entertainment & Faith. O, whatever did the Church ever do before we realized that life is all about arts and entertainment? McManus is asked about his then forthcoming book Soul Cravings.

What many do not know is that Erwin McManus was very close to becoming one of the original ten youth leaders and youth ministers selected back in 1997 by Doug Pagitt for what would become the “Terra Nova Project” of Leadership Network. And this is the rotten root from which the Emergent Church later springs. My source, who was one of those ten, told me McManus ended up being de-selected. However, they assured me it was because of personality clashes and not due to any of his theological views. In this Infuse interview mentioned before McManus is asked, “can you tell us about your new book Soul Cravings? And why write about this subject at this point in your life?”

Of course our distinguished futurist now insists that he’s not Emergent; however, McManus then answers the above question in a fashion remarkably similar to Guru Guru Brian McLaren—who most certainly is Emergent. And notice he also sounds a lot not a little like Emerging Church cultural icon Rob Bell as well. McManus says:

Sure… Soul Cravings isn’t a new idea. This is something I’ve been journeyin [sic] through for 30 years. I’ve been waiting for the day I could write it. Soul Cravings, to me, is very much a human story. It’s the story of finding God inside of yourself

I’m going, “No the real evidence isn’t in the objective world, but it’s in the subjective world… There’s a universe inside of us more powerful and more clarifying than the universe outside of us.
(Online source)

Men and women, this is not SBC theology. In fact, it’s not even in line with the historic orthodox Christian faith at all. Note here that McManus makes no qualification to say he is only speaking about born again Christians; he simply says this is, “a human story. It’s the story of finding God inside of yourself.” But the Bible is crystal clear that prior to regeneration—the new birth—the Spirit of God, of Christ, is not within human beings as I have covered in UNS. However, what McManus says is completely consistent with the corrupt semi-pelagian—and even pelagian—view of mankind in the Emergent Church, which itself is rooted in a highly subjective neo-orthodox (at best) approach to the Bible.

And the words of McManus I quoted above most definitely fit with the existential relativism of so-called “postmodernism.” So, I’ll say it again for the spiritually hard of hearing:

If it looks Emergent, and it does; if it acts like Emergent, and it does; and if it sounds like Emergent, and it does…then it’s as Emergent as Rob Bell.

You see Bell is another one who is also currently doing damage control in whatever way he can now to try and distance himself from the stigma of this Emergent cult of a new postliberal theology. However this mystical mumbo jumbo espoused by McManus and Bell et al is right in line with the alleged divine human potential supposedly within all of mankind. Men and women, as I have already pointed out above this type of theology is actually a return to first century Gnosticism and its false teaching of a “divine spark” within mankind aka the “true self”; and it’s still found today in apostate Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Spiritism and the New Age movement—each of which teaches in some manner that God already resides within every single human being.

And as Living Spiritual Teacher Richard Foster—mentor of the Emerging Church and leading purveyor of this counterfeit Christian mysticism—will tell you the Quakers have always referred to it as the “Inner Light”. However, you need to understand that when we take this heresy to its logical conclusion here is what we find. If all mankind already has God living in them, then there would now be no need to be born again, because man would already have the divine nature within. So, if all of mankind is already divine, then he is already “like God.” And most importantly; if—as Erwin McManus says above—this is a true “human story. It’s the story of finding God inside of yourself”, then Satan will have now caused his ultimate boast to actually be preached from pulpits within the American Christian Church:

“I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14).