These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you. (Psalm 50:21)

Good Intentions Just Aren’t Good Enough

In the recent Apprising Ministries post Philip Clayton And A “Jesus” Who’s Gandhi With A Beard I reminded you about an upcoming event for the sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church, an apostasia-palooza 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)

The two main apostates behind BTC with its “big tent” Progressive Christianity aka Emergence Christianity are EC guru Brian McLaren and his friend Dr. Philip Clayton of the Transforming Theology network and the United Methodist Church’s Claremont School of Theology (CST). You may recall that CST is the silly seminary that’s now going to be producing “wise leaders” for pagan religions; as Clayton recently put it:

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 you can see in Methodist Church Rescinds Warning Against Seminary even the rather liberal UMC initially balked at this…but just for a moment; after-all, in today’s centered on the self (see—2 Timothy 3:2) religion masquerading as Christianity—pathetically begging for the world’s approval—we’re not going to please everyone unless we change the Gospel from repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name  into “making the world a better place.” Yeah, that’s a much easier sell; and remember, *wink* that’s “God’s dream” for the world:

In an attempt to clear up misconceptions, Claremont maintained that they are not watering down Christianity but rather, taking “Christ’s commands to be peacemakers and to love our neighbor as ourselves seriously.”… we are simply asking [CTS students] to show respect, honor, and love to each other in spite of their differences, in order to learn how to work together to solve the world’s problems. This fits in well with each group’s faith traditions of loving ones neighbor and practicing the Golden Rule.” (Online source)

Wow, you can almost hear the applause, can’t you; however, the Lord would put it this way — They are from the world;  therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them (1 John 4:5). As I recently pointed out in The Gloves Must Come Off what’s happened is apostatizing Apostles of Unbelief within the neo-liberal cult of the Emerging Church aka Emergent Church, for example EC rock star pastor Rob Bell, have perverted the faith with their ne0-Gnostic delusions received from practicing Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism. This then causes them, and their counterparts in the Purpose Driven/Seeker Driven arm of this insipid man-centered Church Growth Movement, to turn what Jesus—Whom they’ve remade into Ghandi with a beard—taught about love completely backward.

You need to stop listening to the effete version of Jesus ever so politely purred before the world by these women in men’s pants with their quasi-universalism under a spiritual circus “big tent.” It is as the Dr. F.F. Bruce, considered by many to be the dean of evangelical scholars, said:

Our Lord’s sayings were all of a piece with His actions and His way of life in general. The fewer preconceptions we bring from the outside to the reading of the Gospels, the more clearly shall we see Him as He really was. It is all too easy to believe in a Jesus Who is largely a construction of our own imagination—an inoffensive Person Whom no one would really trouble to crucify.

But the Jesus we meet in the Gospels, far from being an inoffensive Person, gave offense right and left. Even His loyal followers found Him, at times, thoroughly disconcerting. He upset all established notions of religious propriety. [1]

Now look at what Jesus, Yahweh of the Old Testament—the one liberal/progressives call the “tribal” God—in human flesh, actually taught about love. In Mark 12:28 the Master is asked — “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Note carefully His response in verse 30 — “The most important [Commandment],” says Jesus, is to “Love the Lord your God.” And it’s only then that we can get to verse 31 — “ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” We must come to understand that while there are no greater commandments than these, they are simply not equal to each other. Verse 31 again — The second is this”; meaning, quite obviously, that it is not the first, nor is it the greatest. And what’s been lost is until one has been born again, he cannot possibly fulfill either of these:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:5-11)

As you can see the Lord just told us that not even someone who is as noble as say, a Ghandi or a Mother Teresa, could ever even possibly hope to please the glorious and majestic, purely holy, one true and living God of the Bible unless they are a new creation in Christ (see—2 Corinthians 5:17). Now you’re ready to see through the faulty foundations laid by men like Philip Clayton with their mush god of Open Theism; who’s but a slightly larger version of themselves, and has a man-shaped hole in his heart. Today Clayton tweets:

(Online source)

The link above leads us to his post Who Defines the “Big Tent” of Christianity? where Clayton tells us:

In responding to “Why Big Tent Christianity?” a few days ago, Ian Carmichael worried about my use of the phrase, “To those on the other side…” Ian writes,

I’d have thought that transformation is a key concept in any and every strand of Christianity. Classical evangelicalism, for exam[le would be serious about sanctification – even if struggling with its social consequences – which is transformation. I can’t imagine any Christianity – indeed any religion – which would make a call to us to remain as we are. (Online source)

The Genuine Christian Faith Has Never Had A Big Tent In The First Place

I have no idea who Carmichael is, but I can tell you that no one with any credibilty is arguing for “us to remain as we are.” That’s a common straw man in order to broadbrush as legalists those of us who adhere to what renowned evangelical apologist Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989) would so often refer to as “the historic, orthodox, Christian faith”; in other words we hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught (Titus 1:9) and contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). So 1) this is why we know that this new postmodern form of liberalism Clayton et al are cobbling together under their “big tent” is not in line with the Christian faith, and 2) since the Church already had the faith delivered in the first century, we know we don’t need this foolish hybrid form of postmodern Progressive Christianity that Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren began laying out in his A New Kind of Christianity

Yet amazingly Clayton says to Carmichael that his words were, “Beautifully put.” At this point I’ll remind you of some words which were put forth very insightfully by Dr. John MacArthur:

I think that it is so important to know this. In a time like this of tolerance, listen, false teaching will always cry intolerance. It will always say you are being divisive, you are being unloving, you are being ungracious, because it can only survive when it doesn’t get scrutinized. So it cries against any intolerance. It cries against any examination, any scrutiny—just let’s embrace each other; let’s love each other; let’s put all that behind us.

False doctrine cries the loudest about unity. Listen carefully when you hear the cry for unity, because it may be the cover of false doctrine encroaching. If ever we should follow 1 Thessalonians 5, and examine everything carefully, it’s when somebody is crying unity, love, and acceptance. (Online source)

Clayton continues:

The day I responded to Ian, the internet was filled with hostile attacks on me and on the Raleigh conference that opens in ten days. There are certainly those who think that emphasizing Christian unity as Brian McLaren and I and the other speakers are doing betrays Christ. They say that we must emphasize the differences in order to judge the many, many people who hold false theologies.

It’s not for me, for anyone, to define the boundaries of the tent. (Online source)

Since the only things even remotely resembling “hostile attacks,” indeed the only things I’ve seen period, concerning Philip Clayton and the EC big tent heresy-fest have come from this online apologetics and discernment ministry, his opining “the internet was filled with hostile attacks” would appeaar to be a bit a grandstanding on Clayton’s part. That aside, he’s now introduced a pet progressive/liberal red herring that you need to be ready for when you talk with these types. The issue isn’t about “emphasizing Christian unity”; it’s about: Is the Christianity being taught in line with the historic, orthodox, Christian faith? In this case it clearly isn’t as I’ve shown you many times previously; for example, the post I mentioned above Philip Clayton And A “Jesus” Who’s Gandhi With A Beard. This is, at the very least, one of the so-called “hostile attacks”; and yet, Clayton doesn’t address any of the actual substance of it.

Instead, following the format MacArthur just laid out, Clayton tried to change the subject, from what he teaches, to the idea of Christian unity. He first speaks of those, whoever “they” are, which supposedly are talking about the need to “emphasize the differences” they have, and then he plays the piety card: “It’s not for me, for anyone, to define the boundaries of the tent.” As pious as that sounds, it isn’t true. Clayton is ostensibly a professor of Christian theology, while EC guru Brian McLaren even teaches evangelical pastors. So, just as any other teachers, they must teach and preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching (2 Timothy 4:2). This these centered on the self men like Clayton and McLaren refuse to do; instead they continue to contribute to, and consort with like-minded apostates in The New Downgrade With Its Apostles Of Unbelief.

Even though Clayton and McLaren appear to me to be nice people, and sincere in their beliefs, they still happen to be sincerely deceived because apparently they do not know Jesus; for if they did then they would be able to understand that Jesus did “define the boundaries of the tent.” First, allowing Clayton’s metaphor of a tent, Christ told us about the path leading to it — “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matthew 7:13). Next, in stark contradiction to dreamers like Clayton and McLaren, Jesus let’s us know that the tent really isn’t big after all — “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:14). This is why these quasi-universalists eshew Sola Scriptura in favor of their neo-Gnostic mythology received through their romanticized Roman Catholic mysticism, the Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism I mentioned earlier.

So now they follow a glorified social reformer they call “Jesus,” which is what Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough—host of the fine Fighting for the Faith program on Pirate Christian Radio, meant by calling this phantom Ghandi with a beard. The actual Jesus also told those few that do find it how to enter the tent; so you see, they’re not already within it. The Lord says — “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”; and earlier He’d already informed us — “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). I’ve covered this before, e.g. Mormon Church: Deity Of Christ, so here I’ll’ simply tell you that the word “he” is not in the original Greek text. Jesus has taken the divine Name spoken of in Exodus 3:14 and applied it to Himself; in other words, Jesus is unambiguously claiming here that He is the Lord God Almighty.

And in closing this, for now, this hits the heart of “the differences” the genuine Christian would have with someone say, like Living Spiritual Teacher and Progessive Christian scholar Marcus Borg. Borg specifically, and quite adamantly denies, Who Jesus is; therefore, Jesus Himself has told us that Marcus Borg remains dead in his sins. To put into its proper perspective: Borg is still an unbeliever, as defined by Christ Jesus, despite his claims to the contrary. So in the end, as noble as Emerging Church 2.0 theologians and leaders like Clayton and McLaren may be—with their humanitarian efforts under their big tent—the Christian cannot worship with unbelievers (see—2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Let us pray that God, in His great mercy, will give such as these eyes that see; and may they respond to His glorious Gospel of repentance for the forgiveness of their sins in Jesus’ Name, before it’s too late…


End notes:

[1] Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce, Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of the Bible [Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996], 18, 19)

See also: