As a small companion piece to Brian McLaren And His New Emerging Progressive Theology here at Apprising Ministries I now point you to today’s Jesus, Reconsidered: Book Sparks Evangelical Debate by Barbara Bradley Hagerty religion correspondent for NPR. In my coverage of heretical Emerging Church guru Brian McLaren, I’ve told you that he’s really becoming the source of much obfuscation of the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ within the broader visible church; as he, in my mind deceitfully, continues using the media to pass himself off as an evangelical—as in this short NPR broadcast.

Hagerty points out that “March 29” begins “the holiest week for Christians” because Easter is when “when believers reflect on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.” But, she tells us:

This year, there’s something of a dust-up among evangelicals over core beliefs about who Jesus was and whether he is the only way to salvation. (Online source)

I wish there was a “dust-up among evangelicals over core beliefs,” it’s well past time one actually happens. Next Hagerty points us to “a school-wide event” at SBTS where a panel of professors led by Dr. Al Mohler, which you can see in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Panel Discussion On Brian McLaren, discussed McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity (ANKoC). She tells us the SBTS professor’s were there to “talk about a new book by a popular evangelical Christian.” And further Hagerty says, “It wasn’t pretty”:

“It is a new kind of Christianity that is no Christianity at all,” says Southern Baptist theologian Jim Hamilton. Evangelical author Bruce Ware adds, “I’ve thought of Brian McLaren for years as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but I think in this book, he took the sheep’s clothing off.” (Online source)

Then Hagerty asks, “Who is Brian McLaren, and what has he done to make these people so angry?” 1) He’s an apostate (at best), who under the guise of an evangelical, is advancing a developing neo-liberal cult with its new form of Progressive Christianity—Liberalism 2.0; and 2) They’re using precisely the same tactics to spread themselves throughout mainstream evangelicalism as those the late cult expert Dr. Walter Martin revealed were once employed by the original cult of liberalism while infecting the now mortally wounded mainline denominations:

So the strategy was hang on to the trust funds; hang on to the money we’ve got; hang on the properties we control, and we will gradually educate the laymen into this new approach to theology. And then finally we will take control of everything.

The gradual process of feeding you theological poison until you become immunized enough so that you don’t know what’s happening to you. And when you wake up to what’s happening to you, it’s too late they’ve got everything. [1]

And Brian McLaren happens to be a master of the Humpty Dumpty language of douplespeak necessary to use while taking the terminology of someone else, and injecting it with new meanings, in order make people think you’re actually talking about the same things. McLaren’s just as evangelical as the Dalai Lama; in fact, his belief system would likely be closer to a Buddhist mystic than to that of an evangelical Christian like Dr. Al Mohler. But despite this Hagerty tells her NPR audience:

It turns out that McLaren is considered one of the country’s most influential evangelicals, and his new book, A New Kind of Christianity, takes aim at some core doctrinal beliefs. McLaren is rethinking Jesus’ mission on Earth, and even the purpose of the crucifixion.

“The view of the cross that I was given growing up, in a sense, has a God who needs blood in order to be appeased,” McLaren says. “If this God doesn’t see blood, God can’t forgive.” McLaren believes that version of God is a misreading of the Bible. “God revealed in Christ crucified shows us a vision of God that identifies with the victim rather than the perpetrator, identifies with the one suffering rather than the one inflicting suffering,” he says. (Online source)

Please understand this is not about Barbara Hagerty, I personally wouldn’t necessarily expect her to be an expert in evangelicalism; that said, McLaren isn’t “rethinking” in any meaningful the sense. He’s not going to try and come to a deeper understanding of the non-negotiable evangelical Protestant doctrine of the penal substitutionof Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins; you see, McLaren et al have already outrightly rejected it. In addition to his affinity for the liberal theological version of the cross, that God is merely entering into human suffering, let’s take a moment to consider a conference McLaren’s involved with next month.

His good friend Roman Catholic mystic Richard Rohr, also a fellow Red Letter Christian, is hosting Emerging Christianity: HOW we get there determines WHERE we arrive; a couple of other Red Letter Christians in Shane Claiborne and progressive Christian historian Diana Butler Bass are featured as well. Here’s what they tell us the conference is about:

Continuing on with the exploration begun at last year’s Emerging Church conference, the CAC is thrilled to invite you to another large gathering of Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, and other Christians seeking to explore this emergence and convergence together. We hope to inspire and challenge you with the lens of non-dual thinking, a new politics and a new theology rooted in the “third way.” 

Join. . .for 3 days of spiritual enrichment, challenge and shared exploration as we envision what the Christian community can be and do in this generation and in generations to come. (Online source, bold theirs) 

As I said before, if “the lens of non-dual thinking, a new politics and a new theology rooted in the ‘third way’” sounds even remotely evangelical to you then you really do need to have your spiritual head examined. And I’ve been laboring to alert you that this “new theology” refers to the new version of progressive/liberal theology—Liberalism 2.0—which McLaren begins to lay out systematically in ANKoC, and which progressive/process theologian Philip Clayton, along with his Transforming Theology project, are in the process of constructing along with the top progressive theologians and seminary heads, etc.

Earlier in Philip Clayton And His Transforming Theology I showed you that this Liberalism 2.0, which they also refer to as “big tent” Christianity, is so large that it hopes to bring in actual evangelicals like Al Mohler, liberals like Living Spiritual Teacher Dr. Marcus Borg who deny the Deity of Jesus Christ, and even non-Christian cults like Unitarian Universalists who, in addition to rejecting the Deity of Christ, also deny the triune nature of God i.e. Who He is. Barring the Lord allowing some huge kind of spiritual deception to fall I think the rational person should be able to see that it’s an impossible task. 

But this is the “new kind of Christianity” that Brian McLaren’s hawking; it isn’t even Christianity, let alone evangelicalism. As one who’s been closely studying and watching McLaren’s drift for years now I’m happy to see that in her NPR piece Hagerty also tells us that, “Mohler says McLaren and others like him are trying to rewrite the Christian story.” And, like Mohler, I’m also alarmed “that young believers are attracted to this message.” Hagerty continues:

That’s absolutely right, says McLaren. Consider the core evangelical belief that only Christians are going to heaven and everyone else is doomed. That may have rung true for his grandparents’ generation, he says, but not now.

“A young evangelical, Roman Catholic [or] mainline Protestant growing up in America today, if he goes to college, his roommate might be Hindu,” he says. “His roommate might be Muslim. His roommate might be Buddhist or atheist. So, suddenly the ‘other’ is sleeping across the room.” (Online source)

Indeed, just as they have been all along; my point is McLaren makes it appear that Christians being exposed to the “other” is something new. What is new is the approach which the neo-liberal Emergent Church takes toward people in other religions by not engaging them with “the core evangelical belief” that those who are not in Christ remain condemned and under the wrath of God. This is why the Gospel of repentance and the forgiveness of sins, which was won by Jesus Christ in His finished work on the Cross and His triumphant rise from the dead for our justification, is such incredibly Good News.

Hagerty also tells us that “Mohler says he’s saddened by all this.” But, says Hagerty:

he’s not surprised that young people buy McLaren’s version of Christianity. “I’m sure he’s tapping into an exhaustion, a fatigue, a sense of wanting to be culturally relevant, a sense of not wanting to stand out from one’s peers and neighbors,” Mohler says. “I certainly understand that. I just believe that the cost of following that route is literally the abandonment of historic, biblical Christianity.”  

Mohler is determined to nip any such trend in the bud. But if McLaren and surveys of young people are any guide, there seems to be an appetite for a different sort of evangelical Christianity. (Online source)

There, in the last sentence, is why this new liberalism of Emergence Christianity pushed by the Emerging Church is ultimately doomed to failure: “But if McLaren and surveys of young people are any guide, there seems to be an appetite for a different sort of evangelical Christianity.” God’s Law, and His Gospel stand, whether a given culture of emerging McLarenites and/or young people have “an appetite” for it, or not. I sure do wish that there hadn’t been “spiritual knuckleheads” misusing Christianity, for whatever reason they have had; but, this will never change the fact that no matter what so-called postmoderns think, there are not “Christianities”; there always has been only Christianity.

You can download and listen to this engaging piece by NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty right here.


1. Walter Martin, (circa 1985) The Cult of Liberalism, CD Rom, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet.

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