For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Gathering Their Teachers

For the past 5+ years now Apprising Ministries has closely monitored the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church as it has festered within mainstream squishy evanjellyfish, which is why I’m disappointed everytime I read uninformed posts like today’s The Death of the Emerging Church by Dr. T. Scott Daniels, “Senior Pastor of Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene.”

Having “a PhD in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary” does reveal much; and in addition, the list of books Daniels informs us he’s reading also sheds additional light when he tells us he’s “considered myself a somewhat sympathetic critic of the movement.” The reason being, the Emergent Church itself is but another cancerous outgrowth of the nafarious Church Growth Movement as it was vomited out of Fuller Theological Cesspool.

I was referred to Daniels’ post from the fantasy-filled thread The Emergent Church Is [Still] Dead over at NazNet Community Forum. Daniels begins his post by telling us that:

A little over a year ago a friend of mine and I were invited to lead a seminar at Nazarene General Assembly assessing the Emerging Church and its relationship to the denomination. I said then, I have written in several places, and I will repeat it here, I have never considered myself to be part of the EC…

Anyway, a year ago, the EC conversation was THE buzz. People loved it or hated it. They considered it the hope of the church or the seed of its destruction. When I wrote my five-part series on the EC a year ago my blog received hundreds of hits each day with people wanting to read all they could about this important movement.

A year later, I can’t find a whole lot of people who care. In particular I can’t find any scholarly folk who want to talk about it. One of my theological colleagues here at APU summed it up well in a conversation last week. “For all practical purposes the EC movement is dead. It is over and done. Does anybody care about it anymore?”… (Online source)

“A year ago”!? I’m afraid Dr.Daniels is quite late to the party because leaders within the Emerging Church had long before embedded themselves within mainstream evangelical publishing, denominational leadership, seminaries, pastorates, and particularly indoctrinating Young Adult and Youth groups. It was a Trojan Horse from which Satan would unload the same Sola Scriptura-deadening Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism that first paralyzed, and then mortally wounded, the mainline denominations.

Which brings me nicely around to the following tweet last week from Emerging Church guru Brian McLaren:

(Online source)

The above link takes us to McLaren’s post Big Tent Christianity Synchroblog where the leading Emergent Church guru writes:

I’ll be part of the Big Tent Christianity gathering coming up in a few weeks in North Carolina. I hope you’ll consider being part of it. The line-up of speakers is tremendous, and the term “big tent” is evocative. (Online source)

McLaren will then go on to enlighten us:

There’s a lot I could say about the term “big tent,” but I’ll boil it down to one brief comment … There’s a new ethos emerging. It’s a Christian identity that hasn’t fully discovered itself yet, but knows it doesn’t fit in a lot of the standard categories…  (Online source)

Their Teachers Will Now Be Telling Them What They Already Wanted To Believe

It most certainly does not fit the category of what the late Dr. Walter Martin, author of the classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults, would so often call “the historic, orthodox, Christian faith” in his lectures. EC guru McLaren tells us that this imagined “ethos has been emerging from many different quarters”; and just look at the all too familiar names McLaren informs us “have been describing it from many different angles” all along:

Philip Clayton – Big Tent Christianity
Diana Butler Bass – Christianity for the Rest of Us
Phyllis Tickle – The Great Emergence
Doug Pagitt – A Christianity Worth Believing
Tony Jones – The Next Christianity
Harvey Cox – The Future of Faith/Age of the Spirit
Rob Bell and Don Golden – Jesus Wants to Save Christians
yours truly – A New Kind of Christianity  (Online source)

These are no brothers and sisters of mine, I’ll tell you that. And herein lies the critical point: There are those who think the EC 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 is the historic Gospel of Jesus Christ bringing His kingdom to the earth now. I told you in Brian McLaren Addresses TransFORM East Coast Conference that when he finally took center stage, from monitoring the immediate buzz across the Twitterverse, you would have thought it was as if he was one of the original Apostles.

Further I showed you that long-time EC networker Mike Morrell would later tweet to guru McLaren after his talk at TransForm East Coast:

(Online source)

Which now brings us to the key point of this piece: As you can see in Big Tent Progressive Christianity As Liberalism 2.0 this EC 2.0 has been cobbling together a new postmodern form of liberalism they are calling Emergence Christianity; and one of the main venues that’s dispensing and distributing this spiritual poison is the Transforming Theology network of Dr. Philip Clayton. In that aforementioned article I told you about an important upcoming EC conference called Big Tent Christianity: Being and Becoming the Church (BTC):

On September 8-9, 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina, we will be offering a first-of-its-kind national conference, “Big Tent Christianity: Being and Becoming the Church.” Thanks to a generous grant from the Ford Foundation,… (Online source)

So 1) the EC’s BTC received “a generous grant from the Ford Foundation“; and 2) BTC is a “national conference,” which is hardly consistent with an organism that’s dead. And the following from the BTC website reveals how this all ties into apostates and unbelievers such as those mentioned above. Notice carefully what “several leaders on the cutting edge of ‘Big Tent’ style ministry” will be talking about this September:

Brian McLaren and Philip Clayton on “Today’s “Big Tent”: Being and Becoming the Church”… Diana Butler Bass, Phyllis Tickle and Bill Leonard on “Transcending Left/Right Thinking” [and] Tony Jones and Harvey Cox on “Frontier Thinking of Big Tent”
(Online source)

I’m not familiar with Leonard; however, obviously each of the rest listed above are in line with this “big tent” version of Progressive Christianity, which Brian McLaren began laying out in his book A New Kind of Christianity. You should know that Harvey Cox is a well known liberal theologian; and yet just look at the familiar names enthusiastically endorsing Cox’s latest book The Future of Faith:

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 intp 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 [3]

As I’ve said before, when a pantheist proponent of New Spirituality aka New Age like Deepak Chopra can sign on to your “big tent” supposed “resurrection of a new global Christianity,” it’s safe to say that you’ve now departed from anything even remotely resembling that historic, orthodox, Christian faith. Yet Brian McLaren gushes that he’s “working to help make actual” the utopian “future” this Liberalism 2.0 will supposedly usher in. So now you know what Brian McLaren and Philip Clayton will cover in “Today’s ‘Big Tent’: Being and Becoming the Church” at BTC.

See also: