Home Youth Leaders Youth Leaders Blogs What is the Emergent Church Movement Doing Today? (Part 3)

What is the Emergent Church Movement Doing Today? (Part 3)

The Yoda Master of the emergent movement, Brian McLaren and many from the rest of the emergent group are hosting a conference to teach the next generation about “a new kind of Christianity” (i.e. Panenthiestic Universalism with a mix of Process Theology, Read here).  They are taking their false teaching on the road.  If anyone thought the liberal emergent movement was dieing, they were wrong.  It is alive and well attempting to teach the next generation these false principles found in Process Theology.

All these areas under the liberal theological spectrum of the emergent church are scary.  They are clearly unbiblical according to the long line of those who align with Orthodox Christian Theology.
So what else do you need to know?
Before I stop my musings about these heretical views of God and his Holy Scriptures, let me give you some more perspective on these terms.  Study this carefully with me.  It is very important that you understand the theological and philosophical root system that these men are coming from.

Panentheism is not Biblical.  In fact, it goes against the attributes of God found in the Bible.  God is present everywhere, but God is not everything (Psalm 139:7-8).  God knows everything, whether actual or possible (Psalm 139:1-6; Romans 11:33-35).  God does not learn because He already has all knowledge.  God is ‘affected’ by things in the universe, but only in that sin angers him (thus his wrath) and holiness or righteousness pleases him.  Human actions do not change God or impact his essential being.  He is outside of space and time, not connected to the Universe.  He created it (Genesis 1-2).

The Bible presents God as
holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8),
sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 37:20),
omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10),
omniscient (Job 28:24; Psalm 147:4-5),
omnipotent (Job 42:1-2),
self-existent (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 36:9),
eternal (Psalm 90:2; Habakkuk 1:12),
immutable (Psalm 33:11; James 1:17),
perfect (Deuteronomy 32:3-4), and
infinite (Job 5:9; 9:10).

None of these attributes are compatible with panentheism. God transcends all of His creation, and is in no sense limited or changed by events in His creation.  To do that to God would make him in our image.

Ravi Zacharias has written a great book called, Jesus Among Other gods. I recommend it for a solid Biblical understanding of God and why Jesus came to earth.  As a sample, Zacharias says, “truth cannot be sacrificed at the altar of a pretended tolerance. All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true.”  I say, “Amen!”

Process Theology
PT is based on the philosophy that the only absolute which exists in the world is change. Therefore, God, too, is constantly changing, but the Bible clearly states that this view is false.  Isaiah 46:10 tells us of God’s sovereignty and unchanging nature, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.’” 
Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, is equally unchanging, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The Bible is clear that His plans do not change according to the flip flopping of man (Psalm 33:11).  He “does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). But Process Theology does not consider the Bible to be inspired or to be our final authority on life.  This is where a foundational piece of the theological puzzle is missing for the liberal emergents.  When you don’t consider the Bible inspired, without error or authoritative, you are in trouble.
The Bible shares many attributes of God (some are the same as above, but worth repeating).

These include…

His holiness (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8);
sovereignty (1 Chronicles 29:11;Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 37:20);
unity (Deuteronomy 6:4);
omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10);
omniscience (Job 28:24; Psalm 147:4-5);
omnipotence (Job 42:1-2);
self-existence (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 36:9); eternality (Psalm 90:2; Habakkuk 1:12);
immutability (Psalm 33:11; James 1:17);
perfection (Deuteronomy 32:3-4);
infiniteness (Job 5:9; 9:10);
truth (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 86:15);
love (1 John 4:8, 16);
righteousness (Psalm 11:7; 119:137);
faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7:9; Ps. 89:33);
mercy (Psalm 102:17);
graciousness (Exodus 22:27; Nehemiah 9:17, 31;Psalm 86:15; 145:17);
justice (Psalm 111:7; Isaiah 45:21); and
freedom (Job 23:13; Proverbs 21:1).

God is active in the world in exercising all of these attributes today, but God transcends all of His creation, yet He is personal and knowable.

Process Theology denies the deity of Jesus Christ, saying that Jesus has no intrinsic difference from any other man. Additionally, the humanistic philosophy of Process Theology teaches that mankind does not require salvation, while the Bible is clear that without Christ, man is hopelessly lost, under God’s wrath, and doomed to hell for forever eternity. Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is God (Isaiah 9:6-7; Matthew 1:22-23; John 1:1, 2, 14;20:28; Acts 16:31, 34; Philippians 2:5-6; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1) and that without His death on the behalf of sinners as an atoning sacrifice (Romans 3:23; 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21) no one could ever be saved (John 1:12; 3:18; 3:36; 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; 16:30-31).

It is absolutely critical we understand the foundational theological and philisophical underbelly of the liberal emergant teachers and writers.  With this understanding, I hope you will stand for the Truth of God, as it is found in the Biblical Scriptures and not from these men who are leading many astray.


What are other respected evangelical orthodox leaders saying?

Here is Pastor Mark Driscoll talking about the emergent church in 2008. He was formally connected with many of the leaders of the emergent church years ago (i.e. Leadership Network), but parted ways with the “liberal emergents” because of doctrine and theology differences.

Here is Pastor John Piper on the emergent church back in 2010 at a Q/A session.  He said in this interview, “The emergent church is a fading reality.”  I wish he were right today, but I am afraid it is still around.  Piper says, “They minimize doctrine with experimental ways of doing spirituality…Brian McLaren is no longer Orthodox but has crossed into heresy.  That is what happens when you begin to prioritize relationships over Truth.” 

Enough for now…So, what do you think?
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Jeff Baxter's passion for helping the next generation know and love Jesus led him to pursue his Doctorate in Youth and Family Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. Jeff has been a frequent speaker in various settings including the National Youth Workers Convention. Jeff lives in Littleton, Colorado, with his wife, Laurie, and their three children where he is an associate pastor at Foothills Bible Church. His most recent book is Together: Adults and Teenagers Transforming the Church (Zondervan). Jeff blogs at sacredoutfitter.blogspot.com.