One of the trends I’ve noticed over the past couple of years here at Apprising Ministries is how far the effects of the ill-fated Church Growth Movement have spread. I’ve told you before that mainstream evangelicalism is only just beginning to pay a heavy price for its foolish embrace of the sinfully ecumenical Emergent Church.

Now there’s a full-blown neo-liberal cult operating within the Emerging Church, which is inside the walls of the heart of professing Christendom. And part of this price to be paid is how deeply the CGM arm of the EC has carried its new postmodern version of Progressive Christian theology into the Seeker Driven/attractional camp.

You’ll be hearing these rebels against the authority of God’s Word refer to it as“big tent” Emergence Christianity; a form of universalism that’s right in line with the Love Wins mythology of former EC icon Rob Bell. A large section of ostensibly conservative Christianity has been deeply influenced (i.e. corrupted) by relentless EC propaganda.

For example, we can thank the EC for the current fad of spurious Spiritual Formation, such as that taught by Living Spiritual Teacher and Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his spiritual twin and Southern Baptist minister Dallas Willard. Their mind-numbing Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM) was a core doctrine.

Much of this was launched by Peter Drucker with an organization known as Leadership Network. (( Emerging Church postmodern Calvinist, and Elephant Room veteran, Mark Driscoll explains:

In the fall of 1996,… we launched [Mars Hill Church… Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from a young pastor named Chris Seay, who was involved with an organization called Leadership Network… [Seay] informed me of a conference he was helping to lead at the Mount Hermon Conference Center in California.

The conference included Dieter Zander, who was on staff at Willow Creek…and Tim Celek,… I decided to accept their offer to participate… Approximately five hundred young pastors…showed up…

A team of young pastors, including myself, was then formed by Leadership Network, and we flew around the country speaking to other pastors about the emerging culture and the emerging church, in conjunction with older theologians, such as Leonard Sweet, Stan Grenz, Sally Morenthaler, George Huntsberger, and Tom Sine. ((Mark Driscoll, The Radical Reformission [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004 ], 15, 16.))

In addition most of these were also given book deals from publishing companies like Zondervan, thus insuring a huge platform from which to spread their corruption of Christianity. Granted, some are more corrupted than others, but we have already been warned in Scripture — A little leaven leavens the whole lump (Galatians 5:9).

 So, under the guise of their postmodern Humpty Dumpty language, in came the new man-centered “missional” mantra, which has become the new gospel, and is essentially summed up as follows:

God wants you to follow the lifestyle of Jesus and learn His ways enabling you to be a co-creator with God because we’re to live in community with Him. Then in community with each other we will help God make the world a better place, just as He dreams for it to be for all His children.

God loves you so much that He created you for a great purpose. He offers you hope and a wonderful plan for your life. So you need to discover the dream that God has placed in your heart and unlock your destiny as to how you can help Him usher in the Kingdom of God upon earth.

If this sounds a little “New Agey” to you, there’s good reason for it; below the Discernment Research Group of Herescope brings out some really odd associations for professing Christians:

In May 2000 Bob Buford’s Leadership Network sponsored an “Exploring Off the Map” conference to help launch what would become known as the Emergent Church movement.[xxx] This futurist conference was cleverly disguised as the Lewis and Clark expedition, called a “Corps of Discovery,” complete with all of trappings of an elaborately decorated hotel with a waterfall, bridges, murals of campsights and trails, and a big mess tent to eat in. Over 550 church leaders reportedly attended this mega-event that took 18 months of preparation.

Leonard Sweet was the moderator for this event that was attended by key New Age business “gurus” who were called “Chief Scouts.” This included Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley, Ken Blanchard and his wife Marjorie, Jim Collins, and others. A simple Internet search on these names will reveal that they are recognized leaders in the New Age movement. But they were associates of Peter Drucker, and most likely by his invitation they became leaders that trained evangelical pastors![xxxi] Leadership Network has a long history of being friendly towards these “gurus,” and had even written a rave review of Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline Field Book.[xxxii]

The Leadership Network’s “emerging church” newsletter account of the “Exploring Off the Map” conference described the “mission” as:

The mission of the Corps was to “look beyond the present-day horizon and explore the changing national global landscape for the purpose of charting new maps for the 21st century.”[xxxiii][bold added]

Leonard Sweet moderated the conference and delivered the “final scouting report” where he praised Margaret Wheatley and Peter Senge for their “passion” and insights. It is clear from his comments that these “guru” presenters were encouraging the evangelical pastors present to “explore off the map” doctrinally by accepting postmodern elements of “change.”

And the evangelical pastors were being challenged to dismantle the “institution” of the church and restructure it because, as Margaret Wheatley claimed, “They are the wrong forms for this age.” Sweet summarized:

As we explore off the map, we’re finding that in this native culture there is more openness than ever before to the notion that the most powerful forces in this universe are the invisible forces, the unseen forces, the spiritual forces.”[xxxiv]

In one of the summary reports on the event, evangelical leader Todd Hunter described Peter Senge’s session as “prophetic,” and made the amazing statement that:

Listening to Margaret Wheatley was for me a spiritual experience…. I believe, like Senge, she was also being prophetic….”[xxxv]…

A year later Leadership Network gave further credence to the New Age views of Margaret Wheatley when they interviewed her for their Church Champions newsletter on the topic of “Leadership and the New Science.” In this interview Wheatley promoted the ideas in her New Age book Leadership and the New Science (Berrett Koehler Publishers, 1992, 1999). She clearly delineated her New Age beliefs about the merger of quantum science and Quantum Spirituality. (source)

Right within the mainstream of the visible Christian community, we’re seeing the rise of neo-Gnostics deluded by their practice of CSM. They are attempting to ascertain knowledge from God outside of the Bible, which is His prescribed means of grace; and it’s leading to an uber-inclusivism and increasing syncretism within Christendom.

Sadly, these self-professed “Christ-followers” only talk to each other, and then read each other’s opinions, rather than the infallible and inerrant Bible itself to see what it is that God has said. There’s a move inside the Christian community right now for an ecumenism, which will bring everyone together; it’s no doubt rooted in CSM.

Unfortunately, as I alluded to earlier, the true mission of the Christian church—to preach the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name—has been obscured. Instead, in seeking friendship with the world, these Christ-followers are spreading their man-pleasing message that God dreams for us to make the world live as one.

These deluded fools have heard their mystic mush god with a man-shaped hole in his/her/it’s heart issue a new command: “You shall shut off your mind and seek me within. God is within all mankind. You must love the divine in each other, whom you worship, with all of your heart and all of your true self and all of your strength.”

As His Gospel is being changed in order to curry favor with the world we find an evangelicalism which truly is at peace with the world. However, this is not our home. And so I leave you with these words of truth from the prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon. Keep in mind, he lived in a time of compromise very much like ours:

Christians ought to love one another because they are the subjects of one King, who is also their Savior. We are a little band of brothers in the midst of a vast multitude of enemies. “”Behold,” said Christ to his disciples, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matthew 10:16, KJV).

If you are true Christians, you will not have the love of worldlings; you cannot have it. They will be sure to ridicule you and call you fools or hypocrites or something equally uncomplimentary. Well, then, cling the more closely to one another.

We are like a small company of soldiers in an enemy’s country, strongly garrisoned by the vast battalions of the foe, so we must hold together; we must be as one man, banded together in closest fellowship, as our Captain bides us.

God grant that the very fact that we are found in an enemy’s country may result in making us more completely one than we have ever been before! ((Charles SpurgeonAt the Master’s Feet [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], June 2.))

Further reading