For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:21-22)

Always Learning But Not Embracing The Truth

Apprising Ministries has long been covering the rise of the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church, which the spiritually obtuse somehow think is dead. However, what’s happened is we’re now witnessing an upgrade to the Emerging Church 2.0, which claims its “big tent” Progressive Christianity aka Emergence Christianity is the historic Gospel of Jesus Christ bringing His kingdom to the earth now. 

As a matter of fact, just today Living Spiritual Teacher and Emergent Church guru Brian McLaren tweeted:

New blog post: Emergent Theological Conversation – Be there!: I find it amusing when I hear people talk about the … (Online source)

The link takes us to McLaren’s blog and Emergent Theological Conversation – Be there! where he tells us:

I find it amusing when I hear people talk about the end of the emergent conversation. My sense is that it has just begun, and that the most interesting times are ahead – especially as it becomes more ecumenical and more global. This fall’s theological conversation is a case in point … (Online source)

McLaren then talks about an upcoming EC event this November called Theological Conversation – Creating Liberated Spaces in a Postcolonial World, which is itself “the 11th Annual Emergent Village Theological Conversation.” Prior to this, however, McLaren will be at another EC heresy fest in September called Big Tent Christianity: Being and Becoming the Church (BTC) along with progressive/liberal EC luminaries such as Diana Butler Bass, Phyllis Tickle, and Tony Jones, “theologian at residence” in the EC church of his universalist “pastor” Doug Pagitt, who’ll also be at BTC.

You may remember from Big Tent Progressive Christianity As Liberalism 2.0 I showed you that this EC 2.0 has been busy under this “big tent” cobbling together a new postmodern form of liberalism; and, without a doubt, one of the main venues that’s dispensing and distributing this spiritual poison is the Transforming Theology network of Dr. Philip Clayton. Today Dr. Clayton wrote a piece concerning me called Is it possible to use “Jesus” and “love” in the same sentence? over at his blog Philip Clayton: Thinking and Acting for the Future of Faith. Interesting choice of words.

“Thinking and Acting for the Future of Faith” recalls the work of Clayton’s friend Harvey Cox, a well known liberal theologian whose latest book happens to be called The Future of Faith. Now consider below the usual cast of suspects showing up as interlocking concentric circles; and note carefully what they say in their own endorsements of Cox’ book of myth:

This important book has not only helped me understand the past, present, future of this amazing phenomenon called Christianity . . . it has also motivated me to keep working to help make actual the possible future Cox envisions.
—Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian

The Future of Faith is a tour de force. As passionate and challenging as his classic, The Secular City, Cox’s new book invites the faithful, the skeptical, and the fearful into a spirit-filled version of Christianity that can renew a hurting world.
—Diana Butler Bass, author of A People’s History of Christianity

Cox brings the eye of an historian and the heart of a theologian to explain where we’ve come from and where we’re going. The Future of Faith is an essential guide to that future.
—Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners and author of The Great Awakening

Harvey Cox has been a voice of both reason and faith in our cynical times. Now, he offers a fresh vision for the resurrection of a new global Christianity that will restore our faith both in ourselves and in the divine.
—Deepak Chopra, author of Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment [1]

You see these progressive liberals, and they are as “evangelical” as I am Emergent, are all excited about Cox’ “tour de force”; it’s seen as “an essential guide” to a “future,” so motivating, that guru McLaren wants “to keep working to help make actual” this “fresh vision” of Harvey Cox et al “for the resurrection of a new global Christianity that will restore our faith both in ourselves and in the divine.” I’ve said before, when a pantheist like Deepak Chopra can sign on to your “big tent Christianity” it’s safe to say that you’ve now departed from anything even remotely resembling the historic, orthodox, Christian faith.

It’s against this backdrop we’ll now look at Clayton’s post today, which begins:

Ken Silva spoofs Marcus Borg in his recent post at “Apprising Ministries.” (Is that supposed to be Borg’s picture at the top of the post?) He also takes some shots at the “Big Tent Christianity” event that Brian McLaren and I are organizing in Raleigh, NC this September 8-9 (see (Online source)

Dr. Clayton is referring to is Emerging Church Prophets Following Their Own Spirit and we’re just going to have to agree to disagree that this article spoofs Living Spiritual Teacher and “non-exclusive” Progessive Christian scholar Marcus Borg. Having read some of Dr. Clayton’s books outlining his process panentheism I know he’s a very intelligent man; so I have to believe he’s being facetious when he asks if the picture at the top of the post is supposed to be Marcus Borg. The young man is obviously, at the very least, half Borg’s age and the subject of the mini-poster is clearly the Emerging Church.

Postmodern “Big Tent Christians” Who Don’t Even Believe What Christians Believe

Yes, I most certainly have taken shots at BTC; e.g. Big Tent Progressive Christianity As Liberalism 2.0 because Dr. Clayton has already told us, “We believe that progressive Christain [sic] voices can be deeply theological and vibrantly Christian. [2] However, as you can see in The Emerging Church And The New Progressive Theology On Other Religions for the Progressive Christian:

In contrast to mainstream Christianity’s lukewarm “tolerance” of other religions, progressive Christianity pro-actively asserts that it is not the best or the only. Progressive Christians take pains to simultaneously their own Christian faith and their support of the complete validity of other religions. [3]

There is no “validity of other religions” according to the Bible — what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons (1 Corinthians 10:20); which touches upon what Dr. Clayton says next in his post:

If Ken’s “Jesus of the Left” really were Marcus Borg’s position, I could not fully endorse it. I don’t think it is, but judge for yourself. (Online source)

What I’d done, using the format of an old TV program called To Tell The Truth, is to generalize in a personal way the “Jesus” of the progressive/liberal and the actual Jesus of Biblical revelation; certainly there are those who may not believe everything about the progressive/liberal Jesus. The main point was to show they are not the same; and the posers in the EC will tell you, as long as we follow God in the way of Jesus, our beliefs don’t really matter. But as always with false teachings, Jesus has a different opinion and says — “if you believe not that I am — ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24, literal Greek).

It’s beyond question that Marcus Borg denies the full deity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth; for example:

Seminary also introduced me to the historical study of Jesus and Christian origins. I learned from my professors and the readings they assigned that Jesus almost certainly was not born of a virgin, did not think of himself as the Son of God, and did not see his purpose as dying for the sins of the world… I also found the claim that Jesus and Christianity were the only way of salvation to be troublesome. [4]

This, according to Jesus in the Word of God, leaves Marcus Borg in his sins and still under the wrath of God; and as I said in Marcus Borg And Christians Who Don’t Believe In Jesus, if we love Marcus Borg, we won’t let him deceive himself into thinking he’s a Christian. By the way, there’s Jesus and love in the same sentence; no instead, we’ll pray for Borg’s repentance and preach the Gospel to him. Dr. Clayton goes on to say:

More interesting, I can’t keep myself from thinking that Ken’s “Jesus of the Right” must also be a spoof. For example, it seems blind to the distinction between the biblical texts and the 4th-century creeds, which is surprising for a conservative evangelical. (Online source)

If Dr. Clayton can’t recognize the Biblical Jesus in my post perhaps it’s time for him to stop hanging out with apostates and heretics long enough to actually read God’s Word. 1) The 4th-century creeds were based upon “the biblical texts,” and 2) I don’t identify as “a conservative evangelical” because that term evangelical comes with way more baggage than I wish to be involved with. Then Dr. Clayton introduces a red herring into his post when he says:

the word “love” is nowhere associated with Ken’s Jesus — either love of God or love of one’s fellow humans. Indeed, I wonder whether Ken’s Jesus of the Right is even compatible with the love that the biblical Jesus speaks and proclaims. (Online source)

I wasn’t talking about Jesus; it was as if He was introducing Who He is, which would be clear to those without an ax to grind grandstanding for his progressive/liberal readers. So the following from Dr. Clayton completely misses the point of my post:

How can we talk about Jesus and not mention the theme of love and his two greatest commandments? Once we include these, we can start talking about how Jesus’ love and Jesus’ judgment are to be combined.  (Online source)

But here’s a question for Dr. Philip Clayton and the “loving” progessive/liberals who’re just a little better than the rest of us: How can you talk about Jesus and the theme of love and His two greatest commandments while withholding the Gospel of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name to such as Marcus Borg, who claims to be Christian and yet tells lies about the Christian faith:

To be Christian means to find the decisive revelation of God in Jesus. To be Muslim means to find the decisive revelation of God in the Koran. 

To be Jewish means to find the decisive revelation of God in the Torah, and so forth. I don’t think that one of these is better than the other. You could even say they are all divinely given paths to the sacred. To be Christian in this kind of context means to be deeply committed to one’s own tradition, even as one recognizes the validity of other traditions. (Online source, emphasis in original) 

A nice man-pleasing sentiment from Dr. Borg to be sure, but not a Christian view; and taken along with his denial of the Deity of Jesus Christ, I find myself asking another question about this foolish big tent Christianity: Can you actually be a Christian when you don’t even believe what Christians believe?


[1] Harvey Cox, The Future Of Faith [New York: HarperOne, 2010], back cover.
[2], accessed 7/6/10.
[3], accessed 7/6/10.
[4] Marcus Borg, The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion To A More Authenthic Contemporary Faith [New York: HarperOne, 1997], 25, emphasis added. 

See also: