To the Teaching and to the Testimony! If they will not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no dawn. (Isaiah 8:20, ESV) 

Strange Bedfellows Come Emerging

We continue with our examination of the oxymoron that would be/is Brian McLaren and “evangelical” panentheism, and just how this might shed some light on rather curious statements he made in his book A Generous Orthodoxy. And McLaren has brought this attention upon himself when he irresponsibly lumped diverse “traditions” of Christianity all together in that book. For you see, when we have a teacher of evangelical pastors, as amazingly McLaren is, and when we have someone who sets himself up as an authority and critic of the Church, as he has, then McLaren must be called to account for what he is attempting to pass off as being consistent with Apostolic Christianity.

As I do what I can to draw attention to this evangelical panentheism of New Light Quantum Spirituality, one of my main concerns is the question, why is it that a supposedly orthodox Christian teacher like Brian McLaren keeps surrounding himself with the kind of influences he does? We now turn our focus quickly onto one more of those peculiar associations that pastor McLaren has headed toward; this one with Living Spiritual Teacher and “Progessive Christian” scholar Marcus Borg, a fellow with The Jesus Seminar, from whom we will get some scholarly re-discovering [read: re-interpreting] of true Christian doctrine. I also think it’s very significant that in Borg we have yet another member of the dubious Living Spiritual Teachers Project (LSTP), as is the Very Reverend Dr. Alan Jones author of Reimagining Christianity, a book which is endorsed by McLaren.

On his website McLaren was asked the following question:

I am curious if Mr. McLaren has read Marcus Borg’s “The Heart of Christianity” or Father Richard Rohr’s “Everything Belongs” and if so what his reaction to them are. I realize these “progressive” Christians are rather controversial, but I find them liberating.

A: I was just with Richard Rohr a few days ago. What a wonderful Christian and leader he is, just radiant with the Spirit of Christ. I haven’t met Marcus Borg in person yet, but we are supposed to work together later this year. I am not coming from the same background Marcus is,…but I find Marcus’ work helpful and important in many ways. In my travels, I regularly meet people for whom his work has made faith in Christ more possible and plausible. His newest book, The Last Week (with Dominic Crossan) is very informative and useful, and shows that so-called liberals do indeed take the Bible very seriously, contrary to what many of my evangelical friends think. (Online source)

I fight hard to resist wrestling with the serpent here but I’m shocked about what our Christian minister McLaren has just said here. I don’t doubt that in the circles of Christ-denying liberal theologians (at best) that he tends to frequent they would say that Borg’s work makes “faith in [a] Christ more possible and plausible.” Of course it would, as another of the LTSP Borg is telling them counterfeit ways they can be “Christian” without accepting the Deity and the Bodily Resurrection of Christ i.e. believing in Him. I don’t doubt that these spiritual adulterers appreciate this; from their perspective what’s not to like? But the real question is: Why would McLaren be praising this sin of eternal consequence (see—John 8:24)? And why in the world does the evangelical community continue to ignore these obvious signs that something is so seriously wrong with this egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC)—a cult within evangelical Christianity.

Christianity According To The Many Myths Of McLaren

Here we also see yet another example of McLaren’s, “I’m just a little bit better than you” spiritual approach (glaringly obvious in A Generous Orthodoxy) as he continually erects straw men in his presentations to masterfully manipulate with his many myths. The evangelical Protestant position has never been that liberal scholars do not take the Bible seriously, it’s always been that liberal theologians are seriously wrong about how they approach Scripture; in unbelief. But here again, we see a case in point of the kind of methodology consistently employed by too many leaders within the Emerging Church. There is a misstatement of fact followed by a convoluted response, which is why I have trying to warn influential Christian leaders not to even bother with “dialogue.” The Emergent Church is largely about equivocating with words, and besides to actually have a conversation in the first place one really needs to be willing to listen; you may believe me from years of experience I can testify they are not interested in anything other than pressing forth their warped and toxic beliefs.

Then there’s that “work together” that McLaren mentioned above that he was “supposed” to do with Borg, which was part of the Summer Seminars at The Center for The Center for Spiritual Development (CSD). And guess who else was also along to be speaking at CSD as part of that 2005 – 06 Public Lectures & Workshops, where, “The conversation continues in areas of religion, culture & spirituality,” none other than our other living spiritual master Alan Jones. Guru Jones was there just about a month before McLaren came in for a solo speaking engagement because he wasn’t just doing work for this corrupt CSD with Borg. And I just can’t help but find myself returning to the same question—over and over again: Why would McLaren even want to “work together” with so many of these spiritually bankrupt people and/or groups? Unless, of course, there really is more to all of this with Emergence Christianity than way too many spiritually obtuse leaders in the evangelical community of the visible church happen to think.

So, with this in mind, now let’s look a bit further at Dr. Marcus Borg and what his message reveals about our main subject here of panentheism. In fact we’ll turn to Borg’s book The Heart of Christianity McLaren referenced above. As I said before, Borg is yet another “living spiritual teacher,” along with such pagan religious leaders such as The Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, and Marianne Williamson, who—with Borg—all deny both the Deity and the Bodily Resurrection of Christ. At last check this is a blatant renunciation of the Lord that McLaren professes to serve as a minister of Jesus Christ. And yet McLaren was looking forward todoing some “work together” with Borg “later this year”; and further, says Borg’s antichrist work is “helpful and important in many ways.” If our Lord’s reputation and people’s eternal souls weren’t at stake here we would simply be able to change the channel on this pitiful episode of the spiritual Twilight Zone and think nothing more of it.

However, since we can’t change the channel we now return more specifically to the subject of evangelical panentheism, where the living guru Marcus Borg teaches us that through the doctrine of panentheism:

Rather than imagining God as a personlike being “out there,” this concept imagines God as the encompassing Spirit in whom everything that is, is. The universe is not separate from God, but in God…this concept of God does not reduce God to the universe or identify God with the universe. As the encompassing Spirit, God is more than everything, even as everything is in God. Thus, God is not only “right here,” but also “more than right here.”

Though the word “panentheism” is unfamiliar to many Christians, the notion really shouldn’t be. Most of us who grew up in the church heard God being spoken of as “up in heaven” and as “everywhere,” that is, as omnipresent. The traditional terms for these two dimensions of God are transcendence and immanence: the “moreness” and the “presence” of God. Combining these two affirmations produces the central claim of panentheism: God is “the More” who is “right here.” Panentheism is not a modern invention, but an ancient and traditional concept of God (66).

I must admit Dr. Borg does actually have a point here. This doctrine of panentheism is “ancient”; but what our “living spiritual teacher” neglects to mention here is that the only people who held to it as a “traditional concept of God” were those “Christian” mystics we’ve discussed elsewhere. These were men and women who were employing the spiritualist practice of meditation in altered states of consciousness, which they had borrowed from pantheistic Eastern religions and then attempted to assimilate it into a Christian setting. We’ll talk more next time about the rebirth of this neo-pagan Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) through the Emerging Church, where it was a core doctrine from its evil inception. It’s simply beyond question that this CSM ala Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster and his spiritual twin Dallas Willard finds its roots in apostate Roman Catholicism. Remember no less an authority than EC guru Brian McLaren already clearly told us that Foster and Willard were “key mentors for the emerging church” and CSM is their shtick.

A Generous Deity With The Man-Shaped Hole In Its Heart 

You can see for yourself in the Apprising Ministries article Richard Foster Forming Protestant Southern Baptist Convention Spirituality just how deeply this CSM, and its main practice of transcendental meditation-lite aka Contemplative/Centering Prayer, has penetrated Protestant evangelicalism. But for now let me just point out that in his book A Time For Departing researcher Ray Yungen is correct when says of these meditating mystics, “panentheism was the fruit of their mysticism” (72, emphasis added). So keeping our focus on what the doctrine of panentheism entails, now we turn our attention to Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy with an eye out in that direction. I thought it would be helpful to revisit critiques of this book, which were filed by three Biblical scholars of note; Dr. Al Mohler, pastor Bob DeWaay, and Dr. John Frame, professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. Space allows only a quick synopsis of what each of these men saw independently as a source of concern and confusion in McLaren’s book. Let’s see if perhaps looking through the lens of a God Who allegedly created all mankind within Himself so that they already share His divinity might shed any light on these passages.

First Dr. Al Mohler notes:

McLaren claims to affirm that Christians should give witness to their faith in Jesus Christ. But, before you assume this means an affirmation of Christian missions, consider this statement: “I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all?) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts. This will be hard, you say, and I agree. But frankly, it’s not at all easy to be a follower of Jesus in many ‘Christian’ religious contexts, either.” (Online source)

Pastor Bob Dewaay then adds:

How utterly shameful it is that today, in the name of reaching youth, many, including Brian McLaren, are seeking the escape from reason Schaeffer warned about. In stark contrast to Schaeffer, McLaren says, “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.” Synthesis is precisely the essence of a generous orthodoxy. McLaren laments, “Western Christianity has (for the last few centuries anyway) said relatively little about mindfulness and meditative practices, about which Zen Buddhism has said much. To talk about different things is not to contradict one another; it is, rather, to have much to offer one another, on occasion at least.” We are being offered a synthesis of world religions in dialogue. (Online source)

And finally Dr. John Frame completes our picture when he says:

McLaren’s theological pacifism is seen also in his statements about non-Christian religions. Here too much of his advice is good: We should see members of other religions as “beloved neighbors, and whenever possible, as dialogue partners and even collaborators” (35, cf. 249). I agree with him that at times we should even protect the interests of other religions (251-258). And we should emphasize that the gospel brings blessings even to those who never come to believe in Christ…McLaren confuses these issues by talking about “religion” in a negative way: “Jesus did not come to create another exclusive religion…” (109). And he says, “I don’t hope all Jews or Hindus will become members of the Christian religion. But I do hope all who feel so called will become Jewish or Hindu followers of Jesus.” (264) (Online source)

Panentheism And Alleged Authentic Spirituality

Essentially the concern these orthodox Christian leaders have here is that Brian McLaren is saying the true message of the Kingdom of God, as taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, does not mean that “making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. [Because it] may be advisable in many (not all?) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts” (260). And further, that McLaren teaches that the message of Jesus is the “Christian faith,…should become (in the name of Jesus Christ) a welcome friend to other religions of the world, not a threat.” (254) And so, based on this kind of inclusive revisionist history, we would ask: Christ Jesus was crucified why?

Then finally Mohler, DeWaay and Frame pointed out that our Emergent Church spiritual director Brian McLaren tells us that, “Jesus did not come to create another exclusive religion…” (109). And McLaren says that he hopes “all Jews or Hindus will become members of the Christian religion. But I do hope all who feel so called will become Jewish or Hindu followers of Jesus” (264). To which I will also add McLaren, in addition, shares he ultimately hopes “that Jesus will save Buddhism, Islam, and every religion, including the Christian religion” (264). As a Christian pastor I find myself with the same concerns of my more educated brethren: How could this “generous orthodoxy” possibly be harmonized with the traditional view of God found in the Bible, and with the historic orthodox Christian faith, that springs from it?

Um, it can’t. Unless perhaps, we reimagine (read: make up) a “Christian faith” that “emerges from authentic spirituality,” which doesn’t necessarily have to be consistent with the so-called “Western” interpretation of the Bible at all. Let’s see now, what if we decided we’ll just believe that all of creation and mankind was created in God (panentheism), and as such, all men share the spark of Inner Light (deity) within them (harmonizing with Eastern pantheistic religions). This is just what I showed you in Part 4 of this series that our “very reverend” living spiritual guru Alan Jones does teach. And what if our view of the fall of man was that these “divine sparks” eventually “shattered” and then “flew everywhere” becoming the various religions of the world?

You know, this really might be the key to unlock the reason why McLaren could say, “I hope Jesus will save Buddhism, Islam, and every religion, including the Christian religion.” Save these religions from what Brian McLaren? Well, since we have at least two living spiritual gurus to help him here; just maybe, consistent with their own mystical brand of neo-Gnostic “spitiuality,” McLaren might simply reply: “Why, from ignorance; they have forgotten their Oneness.” It could be that McLaren is preparing his Emergent flock for the rediscovery of “a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality.” Maybe this is actually what McLaren was talking about when he wrote that little endorsement for Reimagining Christianity by Alan Jones.

The Return Of The Global Family

Pastor Bob DeWaay began to put his finger on the issue of how we could possibly reconcile this “authentic spirituality” that Leonard Sweet calls New Light when he wrote, “Reducing Jesus’ teachings to the commands to love God and neighbor, McLaren conceives of the mission of the church in terms of planetary salvation in history.” DeWaay then quotes McLaren as the Emergent spiritual director says:

I am a Christian because I believe that, in all these ways, Jesus is saving the world. By “world” I mean planet Earth and all life on it, because left to ourselves, un-judged, un-forgiven, and un-taught, we will certainly destroy this planet and its residents. And by “the world” I specifically mean human history, because again, it was and is in danger, grave danger, ultimate danger, self-imposed danger, and I don’t believe anyone else can rescue it.” (Online source)

And this now circles us right back around to the issue of panentheism (planet Earth is part of God) and of a moral/mystical view of the atonement of Jesus Christ (the rescue of mankind and the world), all of which fits perfectly with our New Light Quantum Spirituality of the Earth as a “living” part of God and His Global family who live upon it already sharing His spark of divinity by creation. We’ll finish this up in Part Six when we look at a so-called “Christian” mysticism that ends up in an Inner Light that leads us to the Oneness of mankind and nature. It purports to be the way of transformation—which just happens to be a specialty of Marcus Borg—this inner transformation, which Buddhists call satori, then allows us to see our Global family. If we but listen to these gurus of Emergence Christanity and then reimagine this panentheistic “Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality,” they tell us mankind will then be able to usher in the kingdom of God here on earth.

But in truth what we really have here is just a pagan neo-Gnostic mysticism, which at its rotten core, sees all religions as systems of similar beliefs and experiences that began to arise as a result of mankind becoming fragmented from God and from each other. And since they developed through mankind’s supposedly sincere effort to find our way back to the God within us, we should have conversations about these beliefs and experiences with each other so we can re-learn these truths from one another. This New Light version of “Christianity” will see Jesus as being a Social Reformer; a Wayshower, to the enlightenment or transformation—call it what you will—we need for the kingdom of their god with a man-shaped hole in its heart. We will be told that one need only to follow Christ’s message, which for many is thought to be the same as the Buddha’s, so that mankind can rediscover his True Self—his divinity within—and then know that we are all really one with each other as God’s children.

And further, as Leonard Sweet says in his book Quantum Spirituality, this “creation spirituality” also tells us we are one with our living Mother planet Earth and one with nature. As members of the Christian tradition, they tell us we will discover the divinity within (or Higher Self) through that Contemplative/Centering Prayer I mentioned earlier. Now others may call this spiritual discipline meditation; but by whatever name, in their delusion they believe it will spiritually lead us back home into the family of God, which is thought to be the message of Jesus and the Buddha. For after all, in perhaps another work that spiritual director Brian McLaren would tell us is helpful and important, progressive guru Marcus Borg tells in Jesus And Buddha: The Parallel Sayings:

I write as a Jesus scholar and a devoted non-exclusivist Christian. Buddhists might see matters differently and I know that some Christians would. But the cumulative product of my thinking and experience is the conclusion that Jesus and the Buddha are the two most remarkable religious figures whom have ever lived. Moreover, there are striking similarities between them. I have sometimes said if the Buddha and Jesus were to meet, neither would try to convert the other–not because they would regard such an effort as hopeless, but because they would recognize one another. (Editor’s Preface, v., emphasis mine)

Unbelieving Marcus Borg, whom Brian McLaren was so excited to be working with, has just equated the LORD God Almighty in human form with the Buddha, one of His creations. Now I ask you, what kind of orthodox Christian minister of the Gospel would ever try and lend his credibilty to create a forum for that type of despicable blasphemy? Listen to me carefully; as I tell you in the Lord that the Body of Christ had better wake up before this Emerging/ent/ence cult gains any more ears and becomes entrenched even deeper within our within the visible church of Jesus Christ. Let me close with this; a few years ago Bob DeWaay had a debate with quasi-universalist Emerging Church “pastor” Doug Pagitt. Following is the impression of what transpired that night from a man who was there: “It sounded much like a conversation between a Christian and Deepak Chopra”.

Micah, you have no idea just how right you are…

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