“These are the statutes and rules that you shall be careful to do in the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.”

You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. You shall chop down the carved images of their gods and destroy their name out of that place. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way.”
(Deuteronomy 12:1-4)

Ah, But These New Gnostics Of The Emerging Church  Know Better Than The Lord

Unfortunately the spiritually obtuse seem to think the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church is dead. However, what Apprising Ministries has been documenting for you 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. In The “Death” Of The Emerging Church And Big Tent Christianity and Big Tent Progressive Christianity As Liberalism 2.0 I’ve 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)

We can see above that 1) the EC’s BTC received “a generous grant from the Ford Foundation,” and 2) BTC is a “national conference”; so despite those who’ve prepared obituaries for the Emergent Church, this is hardly consistent with an organism that’s dead. Previously in articles like the aforementioned Big Tent Progressive Christianity As Liberalism 2.0 I also showed you that the EC 2.0 has been busy under this “big tent” cobbling together a new postmodern form of liberalism; and this foolish new de-formation of the Christian faith—a hybrid form of postmodern Progressive Christianity—is what EC guru Brian McLaren began laying out in his A New Kind of Christianity. In addition, I’ve pointed out to you that one of the main venues which is dispensing and distributing this spiritual poison is the Transforming Theology network of Dr. Philip Clayton.

You may be aware that Clayton is “Ingraham Chair” at what USA Today recently referred to as “[t]he venerable Claremont School of Theology,” which they tell us in their report Theology school integrates studies of different faiths “has taught Methodist ministers and theologians for more than a century.” Hold that thought; more on CST in a moment but first, in order to draw more attention to a piece he’s written, a day ago Clayton again ran the below tweet:

(Online source)

The above link takes us to Clayton’s article How I rediscovered Christianity through Islam for the On Faith series at The Washington Post, in which, he links to the above report from USA Today. As it concerns CST, we’re informed in that piece how this seminary plans to “try an unorthodox approach” when “this fall” CST will begin:

cross-training the nation’s future Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious leaders in classrooms scattered around Southern California as they work toward their respective degrees. The experimental approach launched last week is intended to create U.S. religious leaders who not only preach tolerance in an era of religious strife, but who have lived it themselves by rubbing shoulders with those in other Abrahamic faiths…

Conceived in 2006, the University Project will allow seminary students at Claremont to cross-enroll in programs that train future Muslim and Jewish religious leaders while working toward their own degrees in Christian theology. Claremont already has chaplaincy programs for Muslims and Jews who ultimately work as counselors in institutional settings, but they do not have rabbinical and imam certification programs. (Online source)

We can see where CST derails as “Rev. Jerry Campbell, president of the Claremont School of Theology,” tells us, “Educating people in a segregated environment is not a way to teach them to be peacemakers. It only steeps them in their own religion and with their own people.” However, the Bible is really clear that God does not want His people learning practices of pagans to then incorporate into our worship, which is what is happening with these fools in the Emerging Church. Now you have the proper backdrop upon which to view the myths that Philip Clayton dreams in the piece he’s drawing our attention to. He begins:

I always thought that the way to believe more deeply was to surround myself with other Christians. After all, isn’t that the traditional tool for religious socialization? (Online source)

And where do we suppose the historic, orthodox, Christian Church came up with that “traditional tool” idea; I’ll tell you, it simply followed the Example of its Founder and His Apostles e.g. and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). However, it’s precisely that what you have heard, i.e. the trustworthy word as taught referred to in Titus 1:9 as sound doctrine, that these rebels against the Word of God in the Emergent Church just don’t want to hear. Being a postmodern progressive/liberal Clayton doesn’t believe this sound doctrine; instead he says that, while “this practice worked in previous generations,” somehow this generation is worthy of some special dispensation because they feel they’re so “spiritual but not religious.”

I have news for Clayton, this is nothing new either; the Lord put it this way—three different places in the Bible—when He tells us about human nature:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
(Psalm 14:1-3; see also—Psalm 53:1-3, Romans 3:10-18)

Oprahfied Remake Of The LORD God Almighty Into But A Little Bigger Version Of Man 

What’s been lost within the man-centered religion that’s rapidly replacing Christianity within mainstream evangelicalism is these people are not looking for the one true and living God of the Bible; no rather, when people tell us they are “spiritual but not religious” they’re merely telling us what people have always been telling the Christian: We want a god of our own choosing. Sadly, the Church Growth Movement vomited out of Fuller Theological Seminary—out of which the Emerging Church would slither—has been all too willing to help them create a “Jesus” who is essentially Mahatma Gandhi with a beard. Clayton continues laying out his postmodern philosophy laced with Hegelian dialectic as he tells us, “’Eclectic’ is the word of the day” and a “generic spirituality blend[ing] practices from across the world’s traditions.” Simply, as Gordon Clark put it:

Hegelianism was a Rationalistic system that claimed to explain everything without exception through a system of categories. One category, a Thesis, upon analysis turned into its contradictory or Antithesis. These two were then harmonized in the next higher category, the Synthesis. This three-term dialectic continued until all problems were solved in the Absolute Spirit. [1]

Now that you see this, we go on with Clayton’s mythology:

If one does not have specific beliefs, one does not make any truth claims; hence we can all be right and no one is wrong. By contrast, those who seek to insulate their beliefs from all doubt have to build higher and thicker walls around their religious communities than ever before. Conservative religious groups are increasingly resorting to this strategy. Only by preaching the falsehood, perversion, or evil of religions other than one’s own can one block them from having influence. And the fruits of preaching hatred we know only too well. (Online source)

Having now set up his thesis versus antithesis Clayton next asks the deconstructing postmodern question: “But are there really only two alternatives?” In this way he can now offer up his “big tent” Progressive Christianity aka Emergence Christianity as the new synthesis ala Richard Rohr And The Emerging Church As The Third Way:

Those of us who study religion in American culture are now seeing the widespread emergence of a third way. It’s the way of difference without exclusion, distinction without hatred, knowledge without fear. The religious “other” is not the enemy; quite the contrary: it’s through her that one’s own religious identity and practice emerge more clearly.

I can’t explain this trend without getting concrete–which is precisely the point. The religious other will be different if you’re a conservative Jew or a Shia Muslim. Paradoxes abound. (Online source)

There’s postmodernism’s love for paradoxes and its irrational philosophy; so essentially we end up in a whacked Wonderland of Humpty Dumpty language, which is why corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) is so appealing to these neo-Gnostics in the Emerging Church. Since I covered these subjects in more depth elsewhere, e.g. in Mysticism And Postmodernism, The Emerging Church, And Evangelicalism, here I’ll just remind you that mysticism is perfectly suited to the philosophy of postmoderism that now dominates much of this caprious culture in which we find ourselves; you see, as with neo-orthodoxy ala Karl Barth postmodernism is “anti-logical” and “embraces Paradox” [2] while its deconstructionists viciously attack rational thought with what’s commonly known as irrational philosophy:

Irrational philosophies accordingly stress the will at the expense of reason, as exemplified in the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre or Karl Jaspers. (Online source)

Roughly put, its influence upon our culture is why you’ll so often hear people say things like: “With all my heart I feel that’s a good thing”; in other words, truth is being decided by how someone feels as opposed to what is objectively known. Dr. Gene Veith, Culture Editor of World Magazine and former Associate Professor of English at Concordia University-Wisconsin, tells us this all results in “postmodernism assum[ing] that there is no objective truth, that moral values are relative, and that reality is socially constructed” by various “communities.” Veith then explains:

Whereas modernism sought to rid the world of religion, postmodernism spawns new ones. Unconstrained by objectivity, tradition, reason, or morality, these new faiths differ radically from Christianity. They draw on strains of the most ancient and primitive paganism. Even the deconstructionists speak in mystical terms…

The deconstructionists dissolve every positive statement, every rational argument, every truth claim—destroying form, they say, so as to open up what lies beyond the possibilities of representation… The inadequacies of language will be left behind,… Postmodernism, in its rejection of objective truth, have clear affinities with Hinduism and Buddhism, which teach that the external world is only an illusion spun by the human mind. [3]

This is all also consistent with the Gnosticism being battled by the Apostles themselves in the New Testament, which is why I’ve labeled neo-Gnostics people like Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster, along with his spiritual twin and Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard—as well as those who follow these deceivers like EC guru Brian McLaren and EC rock star pastor Rob Bell. It’s important for you to realize such as these are supposedly the “initiated” and “enlightened” ones who’re just a little bit better than the average Christian because of their practicing so-called spiritual disciplines of spurious CSM under the guise of Spiritual Formation. The most important of which would be the practice of Contemplative/Centering Prayer (CCP) while in an altered state of consciousness, i.e. transcendental meditation-lite; and this they have in common with these other religons.

Meditation In Altered States Of Consciousness As Transformation For A Global Family

I’ve told you before that these neo-Gnostics are pushing their TM-lite CCP because they know that there’s a “transformation” which occurs after its prolonged practice. Two years ago I began warning you about letting the warped and toxic teachings of these people into your Young Adult and Youth ministries by showing you, e.g. in Thomas Keating On Contemplative/Centering Prayer, that in his teachings guru Keating tells us openly this CCP:

is a process of inner transformation, a conversation initiated by God and leading, if we consent, to divine union. One’s way of seeing reality changes in the process. A restructuring of consciousness takes place which empowers one to perceive, relate and respond with increasing sensitivity to the divine presence in, through, and beyond everything that exists. [4]

By definition CCP, a form of transcendental meditation, does involve us in some kind of a “transcending”; or a going beyond perceived reality. This is unquestionably an altered state of consciousness and is itself quite close to Gnosticism; where the material world—the physical—is thought to be illusionary. And no matter how hard Keating, or any other Emergent Church leader, tries to verbally “tap-dance” this away, what this super star level teacher of CCP has just described is, indeed, a form of transcendental meditation. But what these so-called “Christian” mystics will then try and do is to convince us that this “inner transformation,” which is actually quite real, is somehow Christian because it supposedly has a different focus (or intent) than that of the type of meditation we find in Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, or Sufi Islam.

However, if there are in fact “changes” in someone’s acuity, then this type of meditation has indeed caused them to “transcend” their prior perception of reality; as CCP guru Keating has just explained, in contemplative spirituality there is a “restructuring of consciousness [which] takes place.” Now I’ll show you what the deceiving/seducing spirits behind this are aiming these men at; study this out for yourself and you will quickly see the gurus of mediation in altered states of consciousness personally believe if more people practiced transcendental meditation this resultant “inner transformation,” would lead to a Global Family and world peace. In fact Keating’s late friend, supposed Spiritual Master, M. Basil Pennington has written:

In the course of the years, sitting in silent prayer, beyond where words can interfere, men and women of many diverse traditions have come together. In that deeper place a oneness is experienced that gives assurance and heart to our feeble ecumenical efforts and interreligious dialogues. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has said that if one percent of the people would meditate we will have peace. Jesus spoke of the leaven that will leaven the whole. [5]

Interesting to note that Pennington manages to get the intent of what Jesus meant when He spoke of the leaven of the teachings of false religious leaders exactly backward; now I told you that the EC is not simply rehashing old liberal theology, this is a new form of liberal/progressive theology—Liberalism 2.0—complete with an upgrade which allows for more of the spiritual dimension than did the old modern form of liberal theology. Essentially this “big tent” Christianity incorporates emergence theory of evolutionary science because many in the EC believe that, right now, mankind is evolving upward into a higher state of consciousness; and in their delusions (see—2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) these neo-Gnostics feel their contemplative spirituality—and particularly this transcendental meditation for the Christian they call Contemplative/Centering Prayer—plays a huge role in this alleged evolution.

That aside, for now, in any event this now explains to you why the EC is so interested in their interspiritual dialogues. And sure enough, Clayton kisses up to Islam in his piece as he tells the following convoluted story concerning how “it was Muslim students who first led” him “to rediscover my Christian identity.” He tells us he:

was to lecture on “Christian views of the human person” at the University of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. In the midst of a deep crisis of faith, I’d prepared a very cerebral talk, keeping my own feelings and doubts well hidden. But as I stood up before those 300 intelligent, open, and interested Muslim students, it was suddenly clear: I am not a Muslim, Jew, or Hindu. I associate myself with a specific teacher and set of scriptures, and with the tradition that they spawned, blemishes and all. (Online source)

Here’s postmodernism’s spiritual fascism in action; we can’t fully know our “identity” as Christians unless we also strive to arrive at truth “in community” with other religions and “the tradition that they spawned.” However, nowhere in Scripture is the Christian taught this; in fact, again, these neo-Gnostics have it precisely backward. For example, consider that God tells us in the Bible that — All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But men like Clayton aren’t interested in the good work of preaching the actual Gospel of repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name; no they’re much too busy bowing before unregenerate pagans and begging them for their acceptance:

 I set aside my notes, reminded them that my tradition was responsible for the Crusades that had done such harm to Islam, and apologized for what we had done. My view of humanity, I said, starts from those wrongs, this apology — and the dialogue we’re about to have. (Online source)

But even a cursory look at history would also show that their pet religion of Islam’s also had a misguided adherent or two who’s brought a bit of harm to this world; as does every religion, so someone as intelligent as Philip Clayton should know this proves nothing. And finally Clayton proudly discusses the appalling apostasy of his seminary, which is yet another fruit of that inner transformation [read: deception] which is received from practicing mind-numbing meditation in an altered state of consciousness: 

One last example: I’m part of a first-of-its-kind experiment here in Claremont to train Christian pastors, Jewish rabbis, and Muslim imams side by side at the same institution. We help religious leaders deepen their own religious identity through their encounter with leaders in other faiths. What emerges is not a weird, watered-down blend of religions, but men and women of faith who become wise leaders within their own communities, working separately and together to heal the world. This is an unprecedented new world of religious encounter, and it will be interesting to see how it turns out. (Online source)

As I close this out I’ll put what Clayton just told you in it’s proper perspective: He’s just told you that this ostensibly Christian institution is now going to be producing “wise leaders” for pagan religions despite what God the Holy Spirit tells us with crystalline clarity in His Word — 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). And if there was any doubt that with this “big tent” Progressive Christianity aka Emergence Christianity—which now forms the theology of the insipid Emerging Church 2.o—we’re dealing with a postmodern Liberalism 2.0, then let Philip Clayton himself clear that up for you in his own tweet below:

(Online source)


[1] Gordon Clark, Christian Philosophy [Unicoi: The Trinity Foundation, 2004], 275.
[2] Gordon Clark, In Defense of Theology [Milford: Mott Media, 1984], 58, 61.
[3] Gene Veith, Jr., Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture [Wheaton: Crossway, 1994] , 193, 198, 199.
[4] Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart [New York: Continuum, 2006], 4, emphasis mine.
[5] M. Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating, Thomas E. Clarke,  Finding Grace at the Center: The Beginning of Centering Prayer [Woodstock: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2002], 10,11, emphasis mine.

See also: