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vja4Him
Mar 22nd 2007, 01:06 AM
I'm not sure which forum to post this topic ..... so I'll start here. I've been reading up on the Emergent Church Movement and Brian McLaren. There seems to be some concern regarding some of the teachings within the Emergent Church Movement.

Has anyone else noticed any red flags and heretical teachings?

poochie
Oct 12th 2008, 09:04 PM
TONS OF RED FLAGS!!!!!

http://www.cerm.info/bible_studies/Topical/emerging_church.htm

apothanein kerdos
Oct 12th 2008, 10:13 PM
Prepare thyself. :)

I've written several articles on the Emergent Church and mostly on the philosophy driving it. Likewise, I've interviewed Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and Peter Rollins on their views. So, here are the links to the multiple articles I've composed on the issue. I'll put them in order of relevance:

Emerging From the Emergent Church (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/05/14/emerging-from-the-emergent-church/)

My Conversation With the Emerging Church (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/07/17/my-conversation-with-the-emergent-church/)

A Response by Mark Scandrette (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/07/26/a-response-by-mark-scandrette/)

Review of William P. Young's The Shack (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/06/13/review-of-william-p-youngs-the-shack/)

Existentialism: How is has affected Modern Christianity (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/04/08/existentialism-how-it-has-affected-modern-christianity/)

Nietzsche: The Most Dangerous Philosopher Accepted into Christianity (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/04/10/nietzsche-the-most-dangerous-philosopher-accepted-into-christianity/)

A Quick Look At a Problem with Deconstructionism (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2008/06/25/a-quick-look-at-a-problem-with-deconstruction/)

Eisegesis vs. Exegsis (http://thechristianwatershed.com/2007/12/10/eisegesis-vs-exegesis/)

Essentially, I've read all the major works by the Emergents and all the philosophical works that have influenced them. This is my main area of study when it comes to philosophy, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask. :)

In short, yes, I've noticed multiple problems. Every article up there exploits some of the problems I see in the EC (some of them do actually point out the good aspects of the EC as well).

Keep in mind that this movement is well beyond just McLaren and extends to many other people. Although, I would argue that McLaren is more on the nihilistic side of the issue (where I sometimes wonder if those on that side are truly Christians), while others - such as Pagitt - are on the existential side. Though Christians, they are highly misguided.

faroutinmt
Oct 13th 2008, 01:23 AM
I've read some of the conversations with McLaren and others. I think they are warped by postmodernism. While I don't disregard everything they say, they are way too influenced by relativism and hold the scriptures in doubt.

stillforgiven
Oct 13th 2008, 01:32 AM
Apothanein Kerdos, (http://bibleforums.org/member.php?u=16496)

I've read some of the link, and I have a question:

Could being sucked into these ideas of the emergent church be a cause for someone finding themselves no longer knowing what they believe about God?

SF

*Hope*
Oct 13th 2008, 01:58 AM
The emergent movement is basically based on existentialism, which essentially relies on one spiritual experience to the next. There is no base or rationale to one's faith, no propositional truth, no foundation. When your entire relationship with God depends on emotional highs and spiritual experiences, at some point you're going to come up empty. At some point, your faith will be deflated and you'll be left feeling disillusioned. Many of the people involved in this movement aren't even searching for answers anymore, they've given up hope that there even are answers. To them, true truth is irrelevant. All that matters is a spiritual experience.

apothanein kerdos
Oct 13th 2008, 02:00 AM
Apothanein Kerdos, (http://bibleforums.org/member.php?u=16496)

I've read some of the link, and I have a question:

Could being sucked into these ideas of the emergent church be a cause for someone finding themselves no longer knowing what they believe about God?

SF

Actually, I would say that's the goal of the EC. To us, that sounds abhorrent. To them, when someone says, "I no longer know what I think about God, other than He exists and He might love me" that person has dropped all preconceived notions about God. The person's view has properly been deconstructed and by not knowing who God is, they can truly grow in Him.

stillforgiven
Oct 13th 2008, 02:05 AM
Actually, I would say that's the goal of the EC. To us, that sounds abhorrent. To them, when someone says, "I no longer know what I think about God, other than He exists and He might love me" that person has dropped all preconceived notions about God. The person's view has properly been deconstructed and by not knowing who God is, they can truly grow in Him.

Is it possible to recover from this? To reconstruct a knowing of who God is? To find one's place in Him again?

apothanein kerdos
Oct 13th 2008, 02:43 AM
Is it possible to recover from this? To reconstruct a knowing of who God is? To find one's place in Him again?

With God all things are possible.

It's very possible. It happened with me. Though influenced by the Emergent movement, I never fell fully into it. However, I did begin to doubt things about God and become confused as to who He was. I recovered.

The remedy, the cure, for this sickness is orthodoxy. True orthodoxy is the solvent to the problem the EC proposes.

stillforgiven
Oct 13th 2008, 02:50 AM
With God all things are possible.

It's very possible. It happened with me. Though influenced by the Emergent movement, I never fell fully into it. However, I did begin to doubt things about God and become confused as to who He was. I recovered.

The remedy, the cure, for this sickness is orthodoxy. True orthodoxy is the solvent to the problem the EC proposes.

Strictly from the Bible? Or are there others books that would help? The ironic thing here is that EC teaches one to fear orthodoxy.

Thanks for answering my questions on this. I'm heading to bed now, but I'll be checking in the morning for more posts.

Izdaari
Oct 13th 2008, 06:33 AM
With God all things are possible.

It's very possible. It happened with me. Though influenced by the Emergent movement, I never fell fully into it. However, I did begin to doubt things about God and become confused as to who He was. I recovered.

The remedy, the cure, for this sickness is orthodoxy. True orthodoxy is the solvent to the problem the EC proposes.
I'm not confused or in doubt about what I believe. I've found many valuable insights in Emergent writers, and for that reason I continue to read them. But I'm fully orthodox in a charismatic Anglican/Wesleyan kind of way, and not especially liberal or conservative. Because I'm orthodox, I can't and won't be fully Emergent... but they've still helped me a lot.

apothanein kerdos
Oct 13th 2008, 02:17 PM
Strictly from the Bible? Or are there others books that would help? The ironic thing here is that EC teaches one to fear orthodoxy.

Thanks for answering my questions on this. I'm heading to bed now, but I'll be checking in the morning for more posts.


The only problem with relying solely on the Bible is that often times it is the Bible that is in question. This isn't to say we can't rely solely on the Bible, just that it might be a more difficult road.

Books that help would be True Spirituality or Total Truth. The first is by Francis Schaeffer and the second is by Nancy Pearcey. Both of them can really help set a person on the right track if the person is listening.



I'm not confused or in doubt about what I believe. I've found many valuable insights in Emergent writers, and for that reason I continue to read them. But I'm fully orthodox in a charismatic Anglican/Wesleyan kind of way, and not especially liberal or conservative. Because I'm orthodox, I can't and won't be fully Emergent... but they've still helped me a lot.

Getting good out of authors doesn't mean we can't be weary of them as well. I can read the works of Ibn Seena (Avicenna) and get a lot out of it that is helpful, but it doesn't mean I should have a new Christian read the work of a Muslim philosopher.

Likewise, the EC does teach a lot of good things, but it's overwhelmed by the negative things it also teaches.

HisLeast
Oct 13th 2008, 02:19 PM
Actually, I would say that's the goal of the EC. To us, that sounds abhorrent. To them, when someone says, "I no longer know what I think about God, other than He exists and He might love me" that person has dropped all preconceived notions about God. The person's view has properly been deconstructed and by not knowing who God is, they can truly grow in Him.

I've reached that state of mind just from being here. I don't think its a goal of the EC movement so much as its just a function of the human condition.

apothanein kerdos
Oct 13th 2008, 02:28 PM
I've reached that state of mind just from being here. I don't think its a goal of the EC movement so much as its just a function of the human condition.

...it is the goal of the EC. I explained how. It's via deconstructionism. In fact, they would tell you it's their goal to get you to reconsider, rethink, and say less about God's being and essence.

HisLeast
Oct 13th 2008, 02:38 PM
...it is the goal of the EC. I explained how. It's via deconstructionism. In fact, they would tell you it's their goal to get you to reconsider, rethink, and say less about God's being and essence.

But wouldn't you say that's the goal of ALL groups who feel they've got the right permutations of doctrines? Don't all groups want to deconstruct what one has assumed to be true when those assumptions don't align with the group's?

Richard H
Oct 13th 2008, 02:58 PM
...it is the goal of the EC. I explained how. It's via deconstructionism. In fact, they would tell you it's their goal to get you to reconsider, rethink, and say less about God's being and essence.
‘Sounds like a malignancy in the body.

apothanein kerdos
Oct 13th 2008, 06:06 PM
But wouldn't you say that's the goal of ALL groups who feel they've got the right permutations of doctrines? Don't all groups want to deconstruct what one has assumed to be true when those assumptions don't align with the group's?

Not really. The EC doesn't have a defined view of God. It is different from other movements which claim, "We have the correct view of God." The EC - in its most extreme versions - says the only view of God is one that doesn't exist.

Izdaari
Oct 13th 2008, 08:00 PM
Getting good out of authors doesn't mean we can't be weary of them as well. I can read the works of Ibn Seena (Avicenna) and get a lot out of it that is helpful, but it doesn't mean I should have a new Christian read the work of a Muslim philosopher.
You mean wary rather than weary, right?

Yes, that's a good point. I'm wary of all Christian writers until I know them well enough to trust them. I like and enjoy McLaren, but I don't trust him in the sense that I'm confident that whatever he says is scripturally sound. I'm always aware that it might not be, so I bear that in mind as I read.


Likewise, the EC does teach a lot of good things, but it's overwhelmed by the negative things it also teaches.I can't agree with you there. I think the positive aspects of the EC can outweigh the negative, but I'd evaluate that on a case-by-case basis. Since the EC is a 'conversation' rather than a defined doctrine, there's a wide range of opinion within it, some of it sound, some not.

McLaren is pretty liberal, but I wouldn't call him a heretic or an apostate, as I would, say, Spong (who isn't Emergent but is so liberal as to have fallen off the edge). But at the other end of the spectrum, there's Mark Driscoll, an EC guy who's charismatic Reformed and almost-Fundamentalist. I tend to be pro-EC, but I'm pretty conservative, more like Driscoll.

apothanein kerdos
Oct 14th 2008, 12:22 AM
I did mean wary.


Yes, that's a good point. I'm wary of all Christian writers until I know them well enough to trust them. I like and enjoy McLaren, but I don't trust him in the sense that I'm confident that whatever he says is scripturally sound. I'm always aware that it might not be, so I bear that in mind as I read.

You should research every writer you read before, during, and after reading the book. The simple truth is, McLaren is a heretic due to his latest teachings. Though there is some good to be gained from reading McLaren (such as his view on helping the poor), his theology is weak.


I can't agree with you there. I think the positive aspects of the EC can outweigh the negative, but I'd evaluate that on a case-by-case basis. Since the EC is a 'conversation' rather than a defined doctrine, there's a wide range of opinion within it, some of it sound, some not.

McLaren is pretty liberal, but I wouldn't call him a heretic or an apostate, as I would, say, Spong (who isn't Emergent but is so liberal as to have fallen off the edge). But at the other end of the spectrum, there's Mark Driscoll, an EC guy who's charismatic Reformed and almost-Fundamentalist. I tend to be pro-EC, but I'm pretty conservative, more like Driscoll.

There is a set doctrine though. It isn't admitted or called a set doctrine, but it exists none-the-less. First, one must be suspicious of all metanarratives, which means terms such as 'absolute truth,' 'established doctrine,' and "Truth' are to be devalued and even argued against. Secondly, one must accept a view of deconstruction of some sort. Thus, one must allow for the view that we are constantly progressing in doctrine, never to return to where we were, but to adapt our doctrine to our culture and time.

There are other views that one must accept in order to be "emergent," but those are the biggest two (and the ones that contradict Christianity the most).

It is worth noting that Mark no longer considers himself emergent. In fact, he gave a message on why he no longer associates with the movement. It's on my iTunes at home, so when I get back I'll give you the title.

One thing, however, is that not all of the EC is heretica. Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Mark Scandrette - these guys are off on their theology, but they're not heretical. They're good guys with good hearts (and Doug is a hilarious guy and fun to be around I might add), but they're misguided. McLaren, Rollins, Caputo, and that ilk, however, are heretics. In fact, I would argue (sadly, because Rollins and I had a good conversation) that they're probably not even Christians. They deny some of the most basic elements of Christianity.

I would encourage you to study more of the EC - specifically the philosophy behind it - before raising the "all clear" flag on heresy. ;)

If you want, you can go back and read some of the articles I posted (links provided in my initial post). I'm getting my degree in philosophy and hope to one day specialize in postmodern philosophy (along with metaphysics/epistemology and ethics). My reading list has been consumed by EC writings and the philosophers that influenced them. After diving into it in this much depth, I really don't like what I see in the EC.

*Hope*
Oct 14th 2008, 12:41 AM
I would certainly not recommend that any new believer read the emergents. I think that before anyone reads them they should study a bit of philosophy and then when they do read them, make sure to read them critically. I read Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz, and had I not been prepared (intellectually), I could've easily been sucked in to existentialism.

stillforgiven
Oct 14th 2008, 12:57 AM
I think I stumbled into the trap of EC, but I'm not sure where to be honest. Or maybe it's my childhood trying to trap me. I was raised with some very weird ideas about the origin of man on the earth and only went to church with grandparents or friends. I got saved in college thru a denominational student union, but have been in and out of church ever since.

All I know is, even a year ago, I believed in a God who loved me and was guiding my steps, even when all hell was breaking loose in my life. By the beginning of this past summer, I no longer knew what I believed in, and I still don't. I guess I would make an EC leader proud.

*Hope*
Oct 14th 2008, 01:03 AM
I think I stumbled into the trap of EC, but I'm not sure where to be honest. Or maybe it's my childhood trying to trap me. I was raised with some very weird ideas about the origin of man on the earth and only went to church with grandparents or friends. I got saved in college thru a denominational student union, but have been in and out of church ever since.

All I know is, even a year ago, I believed in a God who loved me and was guiding my steps, even when all hell was breaking loose in my life. By the beginning of this past summer, I no longer knew what I believed in, and I still don't. I guess I would make an EC leader proud.

I don't think you're different from alot of people these days. People are so "religious" and "spiritual" now, but very few truly know what they believe. One of the frustrating things to me about modern Christianity is that it is so anti-intellectual. For people (like me) who wants to know reasons why I believe, we're often told to "just believe" or take a "leap of faith". But as I've studied deeper and searched for real answers, I've learned that true faith is trusting what you have good reasons to believe in. It isn't blind. If you're looking for solid answers about your faith, I could certainly recommend some good books, if you'd like. There are several that really helped me and deepened my faith while answering many of the nagging questions I had about Christianity.

apothanein kerdos
Oct 14th 2008, 01:08 AM
I don't think you're different from alot of people these days. People are so "religious" and "spiritual" now, but very few truly know what they believe. One of the frustrating things to me about modern Christianity is that it is so anti-intellectual. For people (like me) who wants to know reasons why I believe, we're often told to "just believe" or take a "leap of faith". But as I've studied deeper and searched for real answers, I've learned that true faith is trusting what you have good reasons to believe in. It isn't blind. If you're looking for solid answers about your faith, I could certainly recommend some good books, if you'd like. There are several that really helped me and deepened my faith while answering many of the nagging questions I had about Christianity.


I think this is the best answer one could give.

It would make an EC leader proud because they'd say that you're at least changing your view about God.

I, on the other hand, would argue that you can know certain things about God. It's not an easy 5 minute fix either - it's a while of reading and contemplating. It is, however, well worth it.

stillforgiven
Oct 14th 2008, 01:35 AM
I, on the other hand, would argue that you can know certain things about God. It's not an easy 5 minute fix either - it's a while of reading and contemplating. It is, however, well worth it.

What can I know? If I know that I can know, I'll give it all the time it takes. I've tried the purely intellectual way. I was taught to question everything. I think that's why I'm here.

One thing good that came from this discussion is that I'm no longer mad at God. I am still pretty steamed about a lot of things, but no longer at God. At least not at the moment.

apothanein kerdos
Oct 14th 2008, 01:40 AM
What can I know? If I know that I can know, I'll give it all the time it takes. I've tried the purely intellectual way. I was taught to question everything. I think that's why I'm here.

One thing good that came from this discussion is that I'm no longer mad at God. I am still pretty steamed about a lot of things, but no longer at God. At least not at the moment.


The old phrase de omnibus dubitandum (doubt everything) is something Nietzsche offered up as an argument. The problem with doubting everything, however, is that it's self-contradictory. I would have to doubt my own existence, or doubt that I am really thinking - yet here I am, thinking and existing.

Thus, things can be known and not everything is to be doubted.

A good start would be True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer, which mixes the intellect and the spiritual aspect (as one should never pursue anything purely intellectually, that will get you no where).

The second would would be Christianity for Modern Pagans by Peter Kreeft.

Also, what *hope* said is really good and I'd suggest you contemplate on that for a while.

Feel free to start a separate topic on this issue if you want.

stillforgiven
Oct 14th 2008, 01:49 AM
I've written down what you two (AK & Hope) have said, and I'll come back on a new thread when I have more questions.

To the mods, thanks for letting me hijack the thread. This is the first breakthrough I've had in months. I was just about ready to say I wasn't a Christian any longer, because I figured I wasn't, even though it frightened me to admit it. Maybe I still am, or close to being one again.

To the OP, sorry for hijacking the thread. I give it back now.