Apprising Ministries has pointed out that Brian McLaren, a leading guru in the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church—that morphed into Emergence Christianity—(EC), has made a key tactical blunder with his latest book A New Kind Of Christianity (AKNoC). In finally stating his reimagined ( i.e. post) form of liberal theology aka Progessive Christianity, which so many in the EC actually adhere to, he has seemingly over-played their hand leading to Dissention Growing Around The Emerging Church.

The EC progressives (read: neo-liberals) love to seek the approval of the world and pose proudly before them as “loving and tolerant.” However, there are those initially within the EC like Jeremy Bouma, who even attended Mc:aren’s church for a while, and those who’ve been sympathetic to the EC such as Bill Kinnon who’ve seemingly found AKNoC more than they can bear. And it’s not only the progressive “Christian” theology within but the not so quiet arrogance with which so many neo-liberals like McLaren espouse their views.

 Bill Kinnon has told us that he and his wife were once even “evangelists for Brian’s books for a time – but are no longer.” The hypocrisy of Brian McLaren becomes clear as we consider the following from Kinnon’s post Brian Wants to Frame the Reviews: ‘If you disagree with me, you are probably a Fundie!’

My friend, Darryl Dash in his post, Ending the Discussion Before it Starts, says this, 

I’ve found that there are ways to end a discussion before it even begins. It’s easy: you set the terms of the discussion so that if you disagree with me, then it’s clearly because you have a problem, so it’s no use even continuing. It’s not really fair, but it allows me to pretend that I have the moral high ground while it effectively silences you, if you let it that is. [emphasis added] 

And then later responding to Brian’s writing at the end of A New Kind of Christianity where it would seem that Brian insists that he and his friends should get to set the terms of the discussion of his book, Darryl writes, 

…if we say that we have concerns, it’s implied that we have a problem and we’re trying to shut things down. This makes it hard to review a book, never mind deal with the kinds of issues raised in a book like this. 

There is a level of cognitive dissonance in a writer who offers his book as the answer to all that ails Christianity and then also wants to frame how we engage with that book. And the dissonance is deeper in that said writer chooses to label those who disagree with him as close-minded Fundamentalists. (Online source

Speaking of Darryl Dish, who is pastor of Richview Baptist Church, in his Review: A New Kind of Christianity Dish informs us that in ANKoC:  

McLaren attempts the impossible, essentially tossing out what you always thought was true, and starting again from scratch. The Fall of Genesis 3? That’s really a coming-of-age story. The storyline of the Bible? It’s really about the downside of progress, and about how good prevails in the end anyway. The Bible is a community library, and the violent, tribal God of the Genesis flood is “hardly worthy of belief, much less worship” – but those were early days, and our view of God is always changing. Jesus didn’t come to start a new religion, nor is Christianity the answer in itself. In short, almost everything you know about God, the Bible, and Christianity is wrong, according to McLaren. 

Disagree? It’s probably because you have a Greco-Roman worldview, or worse. You may be someone who gets “authority and employment” from the old way of reading the Bible, which means you have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are. To go back to McLaren’s earlier image, you’re maybe a lawyer who loves fine print and who hates cats being let out of their bags. You’re probably like the theologians and pastors who:

…sew on a patch here, cover up that bit over there with some duct tape, put a nice coat of cheerful paint on that section over there, play really uplifting music to distract from that bit under there, move the furniture so that part doesn’t show, and so on. 

You’re either misguided or have a vested interest in keeping things the way they are. Either way, it’s hard to disagree without looking pitiable. (Online source

And finally we bring the following to your attention from professor of theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary Dr. Mike Wittmer. In his Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity, Introduction Dr. Wittmer writes that Brian McLaren: 

claims to be “a mild-mannered guy” who is only looking for a new way to be a Christian that will boost the declining numbers in our churches, and he can’t understand why his critics respond with “fear,” “clenched teeth,” and “suspicion and accusation.”  Brian’s really good at winning sympathy, and soon I was loathing myself for ever politely disagreeing with such a nice man. 

But then I remembered that this debate about the Christian faith—which he and his friends started—is not a personality contest.  You can’t dismiss what Christians have always believed and then expect a free pass because you’re likeable.  And just below the surface of Brian’s humble, can’t-we-all-just-get-along vibe is an accusatory tone that repeatedly compares his critics to a religious Gestapo whose leaders defend their conservative beliefs because they don’t want to lose their jobs. 

That doesn’t sound like me.  I am an easy-going guy who just wants to love Jesus.  But to love Jesus, I have to know and believe something about him.  Jesus is not an elastic symbol for whatever we happen to value (e.g., inclusive love), but is an actual person who can be known, trusted, and loved. 

So why doesn’t Brian want me to know and believe the truth about Jesus?  He says that his new kind of Christianity is led by Doug Pagitt, who isn’t sure that Jesus is God; Marcus Borg, who argues that Jesus is dead; and Harvey Cox, a Harvard Divinity professor who wants to blow the whole thing up and construct a new view of God that will connect with our secular age. (Online source)

Note to Brian McLaren and his EC cohorts like heretical EC pastor Doug Pagitt along with his equally heretical “theologian in residence” Tony Jones, there are more and more people who’re just now beginning to realize what some of us have been saying all along: “The conversation” has always simply been a man-pleasing monologue with a neo-liberal agenda to hijack mainstream evangelicalism through infiltrating youth ministry.

What we end up with in this EC is is a postmodern theological version of the old theme song of the original cult of liberal theology Smiling Faces Sometimes:

Smiling faces sometimes pretend to be your friend
Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within
Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes
They don’t tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof…

Beware, beware of the handshake
That hides the snake
I’m telling you beware
Beware of the pat on the back
It just might hold you back…

Your enemy won’t do you no harm
Cause you’ll know where he’s coming from
Don’t let the handshake and the smile fool ya
Take my advice I’m only try’ to school ya…

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