Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. (1 John 2:18-19)

The Emerging Church Ties To The Church Growth Movement

Concerning Emergent Church pastor and spokesman Doug Pagitt “mission consultant” Andrew Jones aka Tall Skinny Kiwi, who has been part of the Emerging Church since its inception circa 1997, he tells us:

I have always been a big fan of Doug Pagitt. We met in San Francisco in 1997 when our family was ministering with street kids. Doug was working for Leadership Network and his role was to create a group of Young Leaders that would help bridge the transition in ministry from the old to the new, and be able to explain it. That group of 10 couples later changed their name to Emergent but well befthen, we had a lot of good times and interesting conferences. The big one was 1998 New Edge Conference in Glorieta, New Mexico… (Online source)

You’ll note that Jones tells us Pagitt worked for Leadership Network. And now Tony Jones, national coordinator of Emergent Village and a parishioner of Doug Pagitt’s, fills us in further concerning this time period in the career of his pastor:

In 1997, Doug Pagitt left the employ of Wooddale Church in Minnesota and went to work for Leadership Network, a Texas-based foundation that brings together church leaders who mainly talk about building bigger churches (yes, that’s a charicature).  Doug’s job was to build networks of youth pastors and young adult pastors, but being the radical subversive that he is, Doug quickly attracted some revolutionaries who thought that the whole way church is done in the U.S. needed to be overthrown.

The “Young Leaders’ Network” was born.  A national conference was held in Glorieta, NM (earlier incarnations, called “GenX 1.0″ and GenX 2.0” came before what is now simply referred to in Emergent lore as “Glorieta”).  The national gathering was followed by several regional conferences, and the word was spreading — by this time, many of the individuals who are currently on the “Coordinating Group” were involved, as well as several others who have since chosen to distance themselves from Emergent.

Big changes were taking place at Leadership Network as Doug and Shelley left to plant Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis.  Regardless of the work of new personnel and those of us who were volunteering, what had then become known as “Terra Nova” was doomed.  Ultimately, we wanted to talk about changes in theology, and Leadership Network avoided theological conversations in an attempt to maintain a “big tent.”

After a bit of treading water, including a significant meeting in Chigago to try and salvage the Leadership Network realtionship, we had a conference call and formally decided to go it on our own, under the name “Emergent.” (Online source)  

The discernment work Herescope tells is in “How Leadership Network created the ‘Emerging Church'” that there “are many interconnections between Bob Buford of the Leadership Network, Rick Warren of ‘purpose-driven’ fame, and Brian McLaren of the ‘Emerging Church'” (Online source). The point being this clearly shows us that the tres trendy Emerging Church movement is itself just another extension of the semi-pelagian pragmatic Church Growth Movement, which explains why it’s so readily blending into the rest of today’s apostatizing postevangelicalism.

The introduction to the Crosstalk radio program for May 16, 2007 informs us:

Ingrid began this edition of Crosstalk by featuring a recorded interview she conducted with emergent pastor Doug Pagitt, pastor of Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s also the co-author of a book entitled, Emergent Manifesto of Hope.

Doug discusses how he feels the gospel is understood and embedded within other social and spiritual systems. He also discusses his disagreement with the concept of the depravity of man, as well as his definition of the gospel,

Another part of the program features a portion of an interview with Dave Flemming, once a conservative evangelical pastor who eventually began to embrace a wider spirituality.

In the end we’re left with this question: Does the emergent church represent a new manifesto of hope or confusion? Pastor Bob DeWaay of Twin City Fellowship in Minneapolis, Minnesota, joins Ingrid to help answer that question, bringing clarity and discernment concerning this new movement that’s challenging the Church today. (Online source)

Should We Use As Christian Teachers People Who Deny The Gospel?

Recently Dr. John MacArthur clearly stated concerning Doug Pagitt:

Let me just cut to the chase on this one: [Doug] Pagitt is a Universalist. What he was saying is real simple. He was saying when you die your spirit goes to God and judgment means that whatever was not right about you, whatever was bad about you, whatever was substantially lacking about you, gets all resolved. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Buddhist, a Hindu or a Muslim—doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian really; we’re all going to end up in this wonderful, warm and fuzzy relationship with God. That’s just classic universalism.
(Online source)

Pastor Bob DeWaay, who also appears with Ingrid Schlueter on the aforementioned Crosstalk program, debated Doug Pagitt in The Emergent Church and Postmodern Spirituality Debate and afterward DeWaay told me, “I have never debated theology with someone who claimed to be a Christian that I had so little in common with.”

Whatever you make of the above assessments by those two respected pastors, Apprising Ministries can tell you that the words spoken below by Doug Pagitt from the Crosstalk program are not those of a pastor-teacher who has has been sent by Christ Jesus:

Ingrid Schlueter: So what you’re saying is that the question of whether the Gospel exists in other religions is a thrilling question that we should be asking.

Doug Pagitt: I think it’s the biblical question. Yes, I think it’s the right biblical question. I think, I find that you couldn’t read the New Testament without that question being raised and without the answers to it being the answers that we should be paying to; which is there is no culture or religion which holds God in complete isolation or purity. (15:25-15:56)

And then a bit later along the same line:

Ingrid Schlueter: So we could interpret what you’re saying as how is God at work; how is the Gospel present within Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism—all of the different religions of the world.

Doug Pagitt: Yeah, for sure because—I mean—Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, those are not—I me—they are the right way to say ‘em. They are “isms,”right; so they are a school of thought, and they are also embedded in a particular cultural setting. And so I think someone could say, “yes, I can see how God—how God is expressed, talked about, understood, through these schools of thought.” Which I find to be quite helpful and they’re not all in contrast with my Christianity. (17:05-17:47)

The question you need to begin asking your local evangelical church leadership right now is: What are men like this, who know not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, doing in our youth groups?  And the video link presented here below concerns that Emerging Church Solomon’s Porch, which Tony Jones is talking about above and attends. As you watch the following ask yourself: Are we really getting a glimpse of the “missional” future of the genuine Gospel preached by our Lord Jesus Christ or rather are we looking at just another one of its counterfeits? 

“[In the Emerging Church] the idea that there is a necessary distinction of…creation from creator is being reconsidered.”

Doug Pagitt (Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Churches, 142.)

See also: